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The Yankees agree to a one-year, $2 million deal with Brian Roberts

Dec 17, 2013, 9:22 AM EDT

“Ground ball to Jeter, he tosses it to Roberts, Roberts relays it to Teixeira and . . . oh, man. All three of them broke their hips.”


I guess you have to have someone play second base or else there’d be a lot more singles to right. But this is a pretty icky signing if you ask me. Roberts has very little durability and has been ineffective since, basically, 2009. As Aaron noted last night, Roberts has played a total of 192 games in the past four seasons. His line over that time is .246/.310/.359.

But hey, the Travis Hafner signing worked out so well last year, why not replicate the model?

  1. genericcommenter - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    I don’t know, just speculation here (I haven’t really delved into the numbers), but I feel like Roberts and Johnson in some combination could make a pretty good 2nd baseman for the season, at a much better value than anything else left on the market.

    • nbjays - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Yep, a platoon of Roberts/Johnson is oddly appropriate because it will have Yankee fans singing the blues.

      • Old Gator - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        Hahahahah….open season on Poor Dim Harry!

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        The Yankees will certainly be at the crossroads next season. Having sold themselves to the devil in the last decade, by 2015, they should be out of the luxury tax hell.

        Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Harry.

      • Old Gator - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        I would think it was more like they paid the Devil orf. Sorry, Johnny, Lucifer pays for protection.

    • maikoch - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      Over the last three seasons, Roberts has averaged -0.1 bWAR.

      • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        That’s pretty meaningless since he was either hurt or recovering in those 3 years. I believe Roberts had a marked improvement in the second part of his 2013 season. I happen to believe he can recapture most of his offensive production of previous years. But not as optimistic about his defense, stolen base numbers, and doubles.

      • tmohr - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        “I believe Roberts had a marked improvement in the second part of his 2013 season.”

        Not really. More like a good last two weeks of the season, which dragged his line up. A 249/312/392 line isn’t exactly Sandberg-esque.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      If A-Rod is gone, Johnson is playing third base, not second.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        What Craig meant to say is “If A-Rod is gone, Johnson will do an impersonation of a third baseman.”

      • ctony1216 - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        If the Yanks also sign Mark Reynolds as expected, they could have a Reynolds/Johnson platoon at 3B if A-Rod can’t play. Also Reynolds could fill in at 1B for Teixiera, and Johnson could fill in at 2B for Roberts.

        On injury-free / suspension-free days, it would Tex, Roberts, Jeter, A-Rod. (Not bad.)
        On injury-free days with no A-Rod, it would be Tex, Roberts, Jeter, Johnson/Reynolds. (Good hit, shaky D.)
        On Geriatric Day: you’d get Reynolds at 1B, Johnson at 2B, Ryan at SS, and Nunez at 3B. (Jay-Z is cracking up.)

      • clydeserra - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        then who plays second? (Don’t say roberts, I am being serious. Not some fantasy world where brian roberts can play an entire season of base ball)

      • genericcommenter - Dec 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Yeah, I realized that after I posted! I guess I still see the possibility that A-Rod is not gone completely, and they supposedly still have the budget for a Reynolds or similar, too.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      gotta love some of the foolish comments on this one but because im such a great guy I will point out the obvious that’s being missed here…Its a “1” year deal worth 2 mil, even if he ends up on the DL the entire season that’s a parking ticket…in otherwords I will break it down even more for the idiot jay fans and the old timer on here…its called “low risk high reward” amazing the IQ level on this board

      • cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM

        You can neither spell nor punctuate, you village idiot. You haven’t a leg to stand on so don’t go dissin’ on anyone’s IQ.

        Now go bathe. You smell like crap.

  2. bolweevils2 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I don’t know, but I kind of like the signing and I’m a Yankee hater. For $2M you take a flier on the guy. The Yanks can afford to waste $2M if he totally bombs, and if he even puts up half a season of .700 OPS like he did last year, that’s worth $2M.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 17, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      Yep much better than the 13 million flushed on Youkilis last year.

  3. m3dman3 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    “Ground ball to Jeter, he tosses it to Roberts, Roberts relays it to Teixeira and . . . oh, man. All three of them broke their hips.”

    Dumbest thing I think I have ever read, you should just be fired on the spot for that one.

    • newpairofsox - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      But if you say it while impersonating Phil Rizzuto, it’s actually pretty damn funny.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Then you just have to swap out “oh, man” with a “Holy Cow!”

    • rje49 - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Three broken hips on one play. I literally laughed out loud at that one…… hey, it could happen!

    • cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      I laughed.

  4. maikoch - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Wow, if A-Rod actually plays this season, then the Yankees will be trotting out 146 years worth of infielders this season.

  5. psousa1 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Are the Yankees trying to win the 2010 AL East? Are they going to sign Vlad Guerrero too?

    This lends more proof that Brian Cashman is not a good GM. He doesn’t produce. Hey buys.

    Gene Michael and Bob Watson built that team in the 90’s through amateur scouting and identifying undervalued players to buy into the team first philosophy. Cashman only knew how to be the highest bidder at the auction.

    • whatthehellisansky - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Nick Swisher, Boone Logan, Robbie Cano, Brett Gardener, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Shawn Kelly, David Robertson…

      Just to name a few guys that he didnt go out and throw a stupid amount of money at – or – ‘buy’ as you’d say.

      As a matter of fact, id say the yanks have developed or bought low on a number of players and had them work out very well.

      Its kind of the nature of the beast to sign high-profile free agents when you play in the biggest market and pull in a ton of cash.

      Just lends more proof that people will hate on the Yankees for being the Yankees – but dont say boo about their teams – or teams like the dodgers/angels who go and “buy” plenty of talent themselves.

      • rje49 - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        When they sign Tanaka, that will make 5 of the top 10 free agents Yankees. How’s that for buying a team instead of building from a farm system?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        the team that just won the WS had 9 FA on their roster. You don’t just win via the farm system (and the Cardinals have/had Holliday, Beltran, Carpenter…)

      • wendell7 - Dec 17, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        the team that just won the world series was also under the salary cap

      • realitypolice - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        What salary cap would you be referring to?

      • wendell7 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        tax threshold, whatever ..

    • Jeremy T - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      A one year deal at $2m is proof for the old “buying championships” nonsense now? What’s next, trashing Cashman when he signs his draft picks?

      • 18thstreet - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        I don’t think that’s quite what he’s saying. I think he’s saying that the fact that the Yankees don’t have a replacement-level second baseman available in AAA is a mark that Cashman doesn’t build, he buys.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Roberts is a nice signing. The upside is certainly there, and the risk is minimal.

      As for Cashman’s prowess, if he was “buying a championship” Cano would be paid ridiculous amounts of money to the the 2B this year. He is not, so there.

  6. whatthehellisansky - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    “Breaking News: Brian Roberts injures wrist signing Yanks $2m/ 1yr deal – out 6-8 weeks.”

    Would love it if he was healthy – but I just cant see him staying that way…

  7. bigharold - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I understand it but still not thrilled. Still, it’s better than the Youkillis signing last season.

  8. southpaw2k - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Now I’m wondering what John Sterling’s home run call for Roberts will be….

    “B-Rob launches a B2 bomber!”

    “Brian is flyin’!”

  9. spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Just a suggestion, but with the money the Yanks saved in the Roberts signing it might behoove them to add another trainer.

    • cur68 - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      A case of Tiger Balm, a bucket of anti-inflammatories, and an extra thick batting helmet for him, too.

  10. Ralph - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    That’s it, I’m convinced. Cashman has discovered how to build a time machine and he’s going to destroy the competition with this All-2006 team. Bring it on!

  11. unclemosesgreen - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Hilarious. I wonder when Cashman officially decided to get fired?

    And then of course, the other shoe poised to drop – how long until Boy Genius Hal figures it out?

  12. losangelesfan - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Have I missed something? Did Frank McCourt buy the Yankees?

  13. drewzducks - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    In a related story, the Yankees grounds crew has been instructed to set the blades at 6″.

  14. 18thstreet - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Serious question, if anyone can answer it:

    How much space is left on the Yankees 25-man roster?
    I’m assuming 12 pitchers (which is what everyone seems to carry) and thus 13 position players, and just looking at the position players. Two will be catchers, so that leaves 11. And I count 12 players already there for the 11 non-catcher spots.

    1. Teixeira
    2. Roberts
    3. Kelly Johnson
    4. Jeter
    5. That defensive wizard from Seattle who plays short
    6. A-Rod/a different 3B
    7. Soriano
    8. Gardner
    9. Ellsbury
    10. Beltran
    11. Ichiro
    12. Wells

    Someone tell Vernon Wells: he’s been cut. And, unless I’m counting something wrong, the Yankees are done filling out their roster of position player, barring a trade. The Yankees need someone to play third until A-Rod comes back from his pending suspension. But there’s no room for anything else.

    Am I missing something?

    • bigharold - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      As UFY pointed out, when the signings become official somebody has to go, .. he suggested it would be Wells. Frankly, I think they might give away Ichiro first as even if the eat half his salary he has a bigger affect on the luxury threshold.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        It seems to me that Ichiro has a value that Wells does not. Wells is a replica of Soriano, only worse: right-handed hitting players who don’t field very well. There’s no need for two of those. Ichiro may be of limited utility, but can still field right or center. And others have said that Ichiro pays for himself because of his popularity among Japanese fans, though I don’t know if that’s true.

      • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        It is a tough call but much of what BH says has value. Particularly against left-handed pitching.
        Currently the Yanks employ, a left-handed dominated starting nine. Granted both Texeira and Beltran are switch-hitters, but in Beltran’s case he is a better left-hand hitter, and would ideally be rested against a lot of lefties. Texeira is almost identical, but slightly better against lefties.

        The point is Texeira and Soriano would be the only power hitting righties, left on the team. So keeping Wells might make sense. No way is Wells as valuable a player as Ichiro, but that isn’t the issue. I do not see how Ichiro gets much playing time, except as a defensive replacement. Wells is cheaper, and couldn’t return a bag of balls in a trade, and while Ichiro cannot garner much, he along with a minor league catcher, might just help acquire a bull pen arm.

        Yes, this would mean Wells would have to start in right (beats Soriano in the outfield), but with Cervelli also the choice on many lefty start days, the extra pop, might be warranted.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      My friend while concern about the Yankees 25 man roster is admirable it is unnecessary at this point. What is important is the 40 man roster and clearing a spot or actually 2 spots there once the Beltran and now Roberts signings become official. I may be wrong but the 25 man roster doesn’t have to be declared until teams are ready to break camp the end of March.

      As bigharold mentioned I believe Wells will be the first to go the second player could be Ichiro at some point I don’t see the Yankees carry 6 outfielders for very long this winter and that doesn’t include Almonte the Yankees prospect that played some as a Sept. call up and can certainly be available in case of injury or for some other reason.

      I also would not be the least bit surprised to see the Yankees make some sort of trade that could include possibly either J.R. Murphy or the Yankees #1 prospect Gary Sanchez both are catchers both very highly regarded. With McCann signed for 5 years and Romine and Cervelli on the roster the Yankees can certainly part with one or the other Sanchez or Murphy. BTW, Murphy saw a little MLB action this past season. Cervelli will probably back up McCann so Double A and Triple A is going to be crowded with Romine/Sanchez and Murphy all competing for time, one probably needs to go, anyway.
      There are still lots of possibilities for the Yankees to improve their starting pitching and bullpen situations and even 3rd base although I do think 3rd base will wait until the arbitrator makes his ruling.
      Just my opinion but regardless of what Randy Levine said if the right offer comes along Gardner along with one of the caters I mentioned should be a nice enticement to get a quality starter from the right team. If the Yankees were to trade Gardner one on one or even as part of a package the Yankees could certainly work with an outfield combination of:
      Ellsbury (CF) / Ichiro or Soriano (LF) / Beltran (RF) with Almonte as the insurance in the minors.

      Like I keep saying a lot of time for things to work themselves out to quote Bob Marley “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

      • jeffstrodomous - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        I’m trying to figure out who is a bigger moron…you or the moron that posted that video on YouTube.

        Bob Marley had nothing to do with that song. He didn’t write it and he did not perform it. In fact he died 7 years before in came out. Bob Marley died in 1981.

        That was Bobby McFerrin 1988.

    • rje49 - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah, you’re missing that half will be on the DL before spring training is over.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        All I wondering is, what’s the plan? And, if I’m reading UFY correctly, it seems like the Yankees would simply HAVE to trade Gardner if they intend to upgrade another piece of their opening day roster. Because even if one of those catching prospects gets traded for a better second baseman, that means someone else does not make the opening day roster.

        Yes, the pressing concern is the 40-man. But at some point in April, the Yankees will have to have a 25-man roster. And I don’t believe Brian Roberts is going to AAA if the Yankees find a better option at second.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        @ 18thstreet, I’m not exactly saying that but our difference may just be semantics. What I am trying to say is if the need arises the Yankees could certainly entertain a trade involving either Gardner one on one or as part of a package. I’m not thinking of a trade for an infielder I was more referring to a trade that would net the Yankees a starting pitcher. In that respect both he and the Yankees are no different then any other team. A trade to improve your team with player(s) that you have in excess.

      • Reflex - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        People keep asserting that Soriano is an upgrade over Wells, but the past four seasons do not bear that out. Wells has been better in all but the last two months of last season. Yes Soriano had a surge after the trade. Expecting that to be the new norm is not a reasonable expectation.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        @ Reflex you must be looking at a different set of numbers then I am, According to baseball-reference offensively Soriano has clearly performed better in 2011, 2012 and 2013 then Wells. He has a better BA, OBP, SLG% OPS and OPS+. He has more HR’s, more RBI’s and more runs scored. Unless I’m looking at the wrong numbers and I don’t think I am it’s not even close.

      • cackalackyank - Dec 17, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        I am not sure what the backup for Teixeira is when I look at that list. I think that may be an advantage for keep in Wells around. I really don’t think they will play McCann there much. I am willing to bet Tex spends at least one stint on the 15 day DL.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      They won’t carry 6 outfielders (7 if you count Johnson). But who stays and who goes will be determined later in the off-season. I think they should absolutely keep Gardner, as the team cannot count on Beltran and Soriano to play the field every day. Girardi likes to manage a bit like an NL team, and having a 4 man rotation in the OF seems like something he would love.

  15. gloccamorra - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    All those rickety journeyman second basemen, and the Yankees might end up with all of them on the DL before the season is over. Then they’ll have to use an outfielder to cover second. Maybe Alfonso Soriano – I hear he played a few games at second when he was younger.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Don’t the Yankees just have two second basemen, Roberts and Kelly Johnson? Seems like a perfectly normal number to me.

  16. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    It will be really weird to see B-Rob in a Yankee uniform. He spent so many years here, and was such an integral part of the team and the city, and it was really rough watching him go through the injury plagued years, especially with the concussions. I just really wish he had signed anywhere else but New York. I was always a big Brian Roberts guy, I wanted him over Jerry Harrison Jr, waaaaaaay back when they first both broke into the league and the team had to pick one direction to go in, and it was really great to see him break out in a big way. Et tu Roberts?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Do you know what the Oriels were offering him (if anything)? Can’t blame a guy for making a living, especially if he can do it driving distance from his current house.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        I’m not even sure they offered him anything. And judging by the moves they’ve made recently, it’s possible they decided to let him go. And I am in no way faulting him for leaving, and not really even mad at where he went. I just wish it had been somewhere else. Who knows, the Yankees may have been the only team to make an offer, or to give him the best offer. Like I said, I’m not mad, just disappointed it worked out this way.

  17. realgone2 - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    So Cashman is a necromancer?

  18. paperlions - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Here is the thing. With the addition of Ellsbury, Beltran, and McCann, a possibly healthy Teixeira, and a possibly healthy Jeter, the Yankee lineup will be WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than last year no matter who they trot out at 2B, SS, and 3B. That is how bad last year was. They were freaking horrible at hitting the baseball.

    So, while, yes, it is fun to make fun of the holes they Yankees have, they actually have fewer holes now than they did last year.

    • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Granted. But what seems to be consistently overlooked is the relatively few games those six will actually be playing. My guess is only Ellsbury starts 140 games, and he isn’t a post child for durability. So dismissing the non-regulars on a team as aged as the Yankees is foolish. Lots of days of Nunez, Cervelli, Johnson, and whoever mans 3B and the other outfield spot.

      Starting Ellsbury, Jeter, Gardner, and Roberts also means 4 table-setters in the line-up, and if Ichiro starts, that makes 5, and in the Bronx band box, that is problematic.

      • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM


      • paperlions - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Here are the 2013 Yankees ranked in order by plate appearances for all players getting > 200 PA:


        Only two of those players had an above average wRC+. There is approximately a 0% chance that this year’s team will suck on offense as badly as last year’s team.

      • paperlions - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        My bad. Three of them had above average wRC+, and 2 of them are still on the team (Soriano and Gardner). They only lost one offensive player that contributed much of anything last year.

      • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        I am in complete agreement that the Yankees are better offensively in 2014. And I believe the Roberts signing is a gamble worth taking, mostly because I don’t believe Johnson can be considered a second-baseman at this point in his career.

        My point is simply, that to overlook the bench as insignificant, particularly when so few Yankees will be playing everyday is whistling past the graveyard.

        I did omit Gardner, who will probably get 140 starts. UYF, et al have suggested bringing back Reynolds, but I happen to think that is a bad idea. Yes, he would provide the pop, particularly against lefties, but his defense is awful, even worse than Michael Young’s. And the thought of a left side of the infield of Reynolds and Jeter should scare the bejesus out of the most ardent New York fan.

  19. chiadam - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Can anyone in the Yankee infield drive at night?

  20. davidbrentfan - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Hahahaha. This will last around 25 games before he is on the DL. His body is shattered.

  21. davidbrentfan - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    PED’s and repeatedly diving head first to first base; these are two of the ways by which Roberts has destroyed his body.

  22. scoobies05 - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    thanks for 13 years in baltimore brob. one of the classiest, most popular players in oriole history. he will be missed

  23. mdrew75 - Dec 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Ok- so the same guy who penned the previous article ‘Tis the season for being incredibly dumb’ and took a pot shot at someones commentary felt like he’d go one up and write the ignorant garbage that he opened this article with? Really? Wow. Talk about shoving your foot in your mouth… ‘Tis the season, I guess.

  24. rcali - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    He’s the perfect age for a yankee FA and he’ll fill the DL spot. Is Elmer Fudd making personel decisions?

  25. proudliberal85392 - Dec 19, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    If the Yankees want to throw money around, they’re more than welcome to throw some my way. Makes as much sense as this signing.

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