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The Yankees and Stephen Drew? Not so fast . . .

Jan 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Yesterday Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are considering going after Stephen Drew. Ken Rosenthal hears differently:

Ooohkay. It’s one thing to set $189 million as a possible spending limit because there’s at least a logical reason related to the luxury tax for that. But now that that’s gone — and now that the Yankees have shown, by going after Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury and Tanaka, that they’re going all out to win now — I don’t see how some arbitrary spending limit is more important than filling a pretty massive infield hole with the best infielder on the market. It’s Hal’s money and he can do what he wants with it, but it seems to me that filling a hole with such a good-fitting piece like Drew would make a massive amount of sense.

Of course, the Yankees also tend to strike fast and don’t telegraph their moves all that much. And their past claims of payroll limits and how satisfied they are with so-and-so at thus-and-such a position have been laughably inaccurate. So who knows if they’re really out on Drew. I still think they sign him.

  1. happytwinsfan - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    the yankees have a spending limit? that is news.

    • hep3 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      The Yankees have a spending limit in the same way Congress does.

      • gazzzmann - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        Obozo has added 7 trillion to our debt in 5 years WHO”S GOT THE SPEDING PROBLEM

      • klingonj - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        gazzzman – get the testicles off your chin and stay on topic

    • metroplexsouthsider - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Hey, it’s Heyman claiming this, so you know it’s wrong.

  2. paperlions - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    In what dream world would the Yankees be able to move Ichiro for a similarly priced useful player? AAA is chock full of guys (many of whom are non-prospects) that can give you what Ichiro can, and more, for the league minimum. He’s sunk cost and a waste of a 40-man spot….good luck moving that without eating the salary.

    • Detroit Michael - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      You overstated your case. I agree that Ichiro Suzuki is worth less than $6.5M if he were a free agent. However, he is not a waste of a 40-man roster spot. Ichiro is still a decent bench player, just not one who should be playing everyday for a team that intends to compete for a play-off spot.

      Last year, his baseball-reference WAR was 1.4 wins, which is not a waste of a 40-man roster spot.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        His wRC+ the last 3 years has been 79, 90, 71….for a guy that can give you adequate corner OF defense, that is horrible. There are plenty of AAA CFs that could come up and play great corner OF defense and be solid on the bases but not hit a lick….which is Ichiro’s ceiling right now.

        He was by FAR the worst hitting RF in MLB last year, no one else was close. His “apparent” defensive value only exists because his defense is being compared to a bunch of guys that suck fielding, whereas his offense is horrible for any position on the field.

    • nolasoxfan2012 - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      I agree. Ichiro really doesn’t have any trade value. His salary is too high and he needed to play in 150 games to generate that WAR. It’s not like he was in a platoon where you could think of his WAR as being added to the other guy he was trading off with. As a bench player, his value goes down so much you probably would be better off finding a minor leaguer or true role player to do it. What is his role off the bench? Pinchrunner? Late innning defensive replacement? Quintin Berry could do that for the league minimum. If you’re getting paid $6.5M and a AAAA guy could do your job, then you probably are a waste of a roster spot.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Yankees should trade him back to M’s for a minor leaguer plus half his contract. Ichiro should then take hint and announce his retirement as of the end of the year.

  3. js20011041 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I agree. This organization could probably afford a $400 million payroll. Going halfway doesn’t make any sense. As this team is currently constructed, they probably still aren’t good enough to get to the postseason, but are going to be stuck with the luxury tax bill anyway. I’ll be surprised if they don’t go after Drew. I’m already surprised they didn’t go hard after Garza and Balfour. Maybe this changes in the coming weeks, but right now, this is nothing more than a lesson on how to waste money for no reason.

  4. alexo0 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Heyman’s source: Boras

    Rosenthal’s source: Yankees front office

    Tis the season for self-serving tweets.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I’m sure that some team will be happy to bail the Yankees out of their mistake.

  6. themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Possibly the Yankees think they can land this in Girardi’s lap and let him work his magic? He nearly took a much worse team last season into the post season. They had a horrible final 6 weeks and were well back by the end, but for a goodly while they were in the hunt. If they feel the chance they had last season was due to Joe Girardi’s managing (and it might have been) then they might subsequently feel that with the improvements to the rotation, OF, and Catcher Girardi actually has more to work with this season. If they get a Texiera for most of a season and Jeter does something reasonable and DHs, they might be enough better to make some noise. I am looking forward to seeing them try.

    • spudchukar - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      I agree that the Yanks “over-performed” in 2013, but hoping to duplicate that is a recipe for disaster. Pythagoras, says they were lucky last year, and that most likely will not reoccur.

      While I also agree that Girardi is a very good manager, expecting him to juggle cats for wins isn’t prudent. The Yanks still have 3 glaring holes. Most likely the 3B one, will be patched together with what they have, but bull pen and back-up first base is still problematic.

      And please stop suggesting that Jeter is going to DH. Every day that he is inserted there, he subtracts from ABs of Soriano, Tex, McCann, and Beltran. Jeter in the DH role should be rare.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        Jeter can’t play SS. And you say, correctly, he shouldn’t DH. What I’m suggesting isn’t that I believe in Jeter’s bat but that JETER believes in Jeter’s bat. Possibly more than Jeter believes in Jeter’s legs.

        Who has the nuts to disabuse Jeter of this? Cashman? Hal Steinbrenner? Girardi? Someone has to. But I suspect no one will. So Jeter will play. And I think he’ll DH. And every day he does so he will “subtract from ABs of Soriano, Tex, McCann, and Beltran”.

        Its not me you need to convince of Jeter’s need to bow out. Its Jeter.

      • spudchukar - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        OK, got it, can you supply his phone number or e-mail?

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        You can reach him here;

        http://grantland.com/tags/captains-log/

      • spudchukar - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Consider it a done deal.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Its not me you need to convince of Jeter’s need to bow out. Its Jeter.

        I don’t understand, this is Saint Jeter we’re talking about here. He’s devoted his life to doing what’s best for the Yankees. Why wouldn’t he take a reduced role?

        /narrative

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        In the end I suspect Jeter will remove himself. Unfortunately I think he will cost his club wins before he does so. After all he has a history of letting his ego get in the way of what is best for The Yankees, even though all indications were that he should take a different course of action (unless you intend to explain the logic of why he continued to play SS when a far better SS was playing 3B). From where I’m sitting the only answer is that his ego demanded he keep playing a position at which he was mediocre. His ego will see him swinging at baseballs while better players ride the pine.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Yanks really don’t need Drew but if he comes for the right price I guess but id rather an experienced bullpen arm instead

    • gazzzmann - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      NO NO Yankee’s should sign Drew ,Red Sox want the ist rd draft choice and seeing as the Yankee’s should suck it will be a good one

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Now Drew seems like a luxury, but next season they will need a SS (non-Ryan). Does next winter offer a better crop of free agents at SS? If not, sign Drew and lock down SS for 2015.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      I don’t think there is any better SS in 2015, but the Yankees know that dealing with Boras
      he will want 4 yrs @ 15 mil each, I don’t think the Yankees would go there, even if they are willingto give up the pick. I think the Yankees will go with quantity over quality and hope the infield holds up and then pick up something if available at the trade deadline.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      I’m confused, and not sarcastically, because Sabathia raises a good point.

      I mean, if the Yankees wanted Drew, they could have had him a couple months ago. Instead, they traded for Ryan — a better fielder, but a non-existent bat. It would be rather odd to have Jeter, Ryan, and Drew all on the roster, wouldn’t it? Maybe the plan would be to put Drew at second base?

      My opinion is that, if the Yankees wanted Drew, they would have signed him already. Maybe he’s a little cheaper now (I thought, for sure, he’d be going to the Cardinals). But they surely always planned to pursue McCann and Ellsbury at the expense of draft picks. So the lost draft pick for Drew is a modest cost, unlike the loss of a first-rounder.

      I know I bash the Yankees all the time, but if they DO sign Drew, it will suggest that there’s no plan over there. If they want him, they should have signed him months ago.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        I know I bash the Yankees all the time, but if they DO sign Drew, it will suggest that there’s no plan over there. If they want him, they should have signed him months ago.

        I disagree. Ryan isn’t precluding the Yanks from signing Drew, Jeter is. If Jeter really was the team player everyone thinks he is, he’d either swap to 3b or 2b full time so the Yanks could sign a superior player in Drew. As it stands now the Yanks are looking at roughly average at 3b (Johnson), below average at SS (Jeter), god knows at 2b in Roberts with a super sub in Ryan waiting to play.

        Sign Drew, let him start at SS (above average), have Jeter start at 3b (sub par), allowing Johnson to super sub 3b/2b, Roberts start at 2b and Ryan subs for Drew. Collectively the team is a lot stronger, and you can hide some of the weaknesses.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        If I were Derek Jeter, there is no way on earth I would be willing to learn a new position at this stage of my career. Ten years ago? Sure. Now? No.

        I’d be stunned if he plays anywhere other than shortstop (with occasional DH duties). They didn’t ask him to move for A-Rod, who was the best player in baseball at the time. They’re not going to ask him to move for Drew in his last year before retiring. I think.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        I don’t necessarily agree. I think the Yankees saw McCann and (perhaps) Ellsbury as “must-haves” so they were extremely aggressive. They may see Drew as a “nice to have if he falls in our lap” kind of guy.

        At the right price, anything could make sense. If Drew’s price falls far enough, the Yankees would be silly not to consider him. They have questions about the infield this season, and even more in 2015. It would not be the worst idea in the world to lock him up for 2-3 years and see what happens. If the price is right…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        If I were Derek Jeter, there is no way on earth I would be willing to learn a new position at this stage of my career. Ten years ago? Sure. Now? No.

        Of course he won’t, because the man is an egomaniac. He should have volunteered to move to 3b or 2b when Arod was brought on board, and let the superior player stay at SS. He should volunteer to move there now because it’s hurting the time by refusing to do so.

        This is the man who apparently never heard that he was awful defensively, so when Cashman finally brought it up to him before the ’09 season, he worked on it and actually played above average defensively. Unfortunately that was for one year only.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        I think most of the athletes (heck, most famous people) we admire have huge egos. I don’t hold it against them.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Of course, especially in baseball. How else do you convince yourself to stay in a sport where you fail as often as a hitter does? That doesn’t mean you don’t take one for the team every once in awhile. Although with Jeter the next time he does that will also be the first.

  9. nolasoxfan2012 - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    This whole Yankees-Drew thing is just stupid. It’s like a game of competitive leaks. The Yankees tip off their spokesman, Buster Olney, that they’re “at their spending limit,” whatever that means. Then, Boras tips off his guy Rosenthal that they’re thinking about it and that they could fit him if they move Ichiro (which it total nonsense because Ichiro has no trade value whatsoever at his salary, and no one actually associated with a club would think otherwise. They’re certainly not going to get a decent reliever for him.). None of it is news. It’s all competitive spin, part of the dance between Boras and the Yankees, and the reporters who depend on them for insider information. And, we all know how it’s going to end. This has been inevitable all off-season. The Yankees will relent and give him three years at $13-14M. They’ll come up with some reason for how they justify it and distribute it to Olney or whomever. It’ll be something about him being a terrific player, extending “just this once” to make it happen, and how it hurts the Red Sox (this always plays well with the fanbase.). The reality will be that they just can’t resist spending more money, and they can’t compete unless they outspend their rivals by 30-40 percent. So it goes every year.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      lots of misinformation here:

      hen, Boras tips off his guy Rosenthal

      Boras’s guy is Heyman, not Rosenthal. Search the archives for multiple stories on this.

      if they move Ichiro (which it total nonsense because Ichiro has no trade value whatsoever at his salary, and no one actually associated with a club would think otherwise.

      This is a misrepresentation of what Rosenthal said. He didn’t say swap Ichiro for a prospect, he said swap Ichiro for a reliever with a similar contract. Maybe one that’s fallen out of favor with his current team.

      The reality will be that they just can’t resist spending more money, and they can’t compete unless they outspend their rivals by 30-40 percent. So it goes every year.

      And they are competitive every year. Isn’t that what you want from your team? Also it’s a bit hypocritical coming from a Sox fan when they were routinely the second or third highest spending team in MLB.

      • nolasoxfan2012 - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Your knowledge of Heyman vs. Rosenthal simply amazes. Since you’d like to be the fact-checker here, perhaps you should work on other parts of your reading comprehension. I never said anything about prospects, so I have no idea where your prospect comment comes from. Read it again, carefully this time, assessing the words that actually exist rather than those in your head. I’m fairly certain “decent reliever” doesn’t = “prospect.” I’m not sure how the Yankees would benefit from acquiring a crappy reliever making $6.5M, but perhaps that’s what he meant. Also, it is a demonstrable fact that the Yankees have outspent their main rivals, the Boston Red Sox, by roughly 30% year after year for the last decade (ca. 2.1 Billion to 1.4 Billion). There’s really nothing to be hypocritical about. This is a comparison of two rivals. If the Yankees thought they could compete with the Red Sox at the same level by spending the same amount, they would. But, they don’t.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Your knowledge of Heyman vs. Rosenthal simply amazes

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/16/if-its-february-it-must-be-time-for-jon-heyman-to-stump-for-johnny-damon/

        Just one of the many articles where it’s noted how often Heyman is used as Boras’s mouthpiece.

        I’m not sure how the Yankees would benefit from acquiring a crappy reliever making $6.5M, but perhaps that’s what he meant.

        Because the Yanks currently have 3 relievers penciled in and a glut of OF. A guy who can provide mediocre innings is far more valuable than someone who isn’t going to play.

        Also, it is a demonstrable fact that the Yankees have outspent their main rivals, the Boston Red Sox, by roughly 30% year after year for the last decade (ca. 2.1 Billion to 1.4 Billion).

        2.1/1.4 = 1.3?

        This is a comparison of two rivals. If the Yankees thought they could compete with the Red Sox at the same level by spending the same amount, they would. But, they don’t.

        This depends on what your definition of compete is. There’s no need for the Yanks to concern themselves about what the Red Sox are spending. The Yanks make far more in revenue than the Sox. What I said was, who cares how much they spend if they are fielding a competitive team every year. Isn’t this what you should want as a fan?

        Which you didn’t answer.

        And yeah, I screwed up on the prospect thing.

  10. cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I know many of my fellow Yankee fans will not like this, but the best scenario for the infield right now is for some how, some way, get Jeter to move to 3B, THEN sign Drew. I admit I scoffed at the idea when I first heard it…but it might be the best shot at a more functional infield.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      good luck telling Jeter to move.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        Oh I know that. Can we ask Cal Ripken to give him a call? lol

    • theskinsman - Jan 24, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      The best scenario for the yanks infield is if Jeter retires before the season begins. But a guy who refused to move when a far superior SS (Arod) came to the team won’t do it now. So watch him wave at balls hit near him this season, and hope the yanks can score enough to offset the defensive liability the captain is now.
      As a Red Sox fan, I hope he stays in the lineup forever.

      • gloccamorra - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:30 PM

        Good point about not moving for ARod, but that points up the ego aspect. Jeter KNOWS it’s his last year, and he has not only too much pride to move, he has too much pride to not do everything he has to do to go out with a bang.

        Ted Williams did that in 1960, after the worst year of his career in ’59, and ended up hitting .300 with 29 homers in 310 ABs. He worked like a dog in the ’59-’60 offseason to get in shape for his final year, as Jeter is doing now.

        That last point shows he wasn’t playing every day, just mostly every day, with liberal time off for a 42 year old. Jeter will probably do the same, playing sparingly when he’s in shape to contribute. I wouldn’t count him out from having a good year, at least, and then bowing out before ARod comes back.

      • nich13 - Jan 25, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        kind of funny that there stats are almost exactly the same except for three years . 01′ 02′ & 03′ when he was with Texas oops almost forgot those were the same yrs he admits do using PEDs. So that far superior SS statement really could not apply here as to A-Riod and Yes I have been a Yankee fan since 75′. If he was such a far superior SS why didn’t Boston sign him and move Garciaparra to 3rd.

      • theskinsman - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:55 AM

        Boston tried to sign him, but the deal was shot down.Thank goodness! A-Rod never stopped using, and he had better range and a universe more pop in his bat than Jeter on his best day. Even a casual fan knows this.
        This isn’t bashing Jeter’s skills, It’s just clear ARod was superior when he got traded to the Yanks.

  11. pastabelly - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Also, it is a demonstrable fact that the Yankees have outspent their main rivals, the Boston Red Sox, by roughly 30% year after year for the last decade (ca. 2.1 Billion to 1.4 Billion).
    2.1/1.4 = 1.3?

    This is a comparison of two rivals. If the Yankees thought they could compete with the Red Sox at the same level by spending the same amount, they would. But, they don’t.
    =========================================================================
    My math says they outspend the Red Sox by 50%, since .7/1.4 = .5.

    The Yankess would never choose to “compete with the Red Sox at the same level”. They prefer to compete at a higher level. Even if the Yankees could draft and develop players as good as the Red Sox do, they would try to one up or two up the Red Sox by signing the best players on the market because they choose to and have the resources. It’s the same argument on a lower levels with the Red Sox and Rays. It’s the way baseball works.

  12. New_Core - Jan 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I hope so. Obviously the Sawx don’t care. They have already destroyed there Championship team

    • Rick Cosmo - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      who will surrender a draft choice for Drew..I expect he’ll be back with the Red Sox..and to think he refused a $14M qualifying offer

  13. Rick Cosmo - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    who will surrender a draft choice for Drew..I expect he’ll be back with the Red Sox..and to think he refused a $14M qualifying offer

    • klingonj - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      I wouldnt give up adrat choice for him. Even though the Yankees picks never seem to amount to anything anyway

  14. ltpm3 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    So the Yankees are “thinking” of going after Drew and Hanrahan, they already have Ellsbury, Thornton and Bailey. All of these players were on the World Series Red Sox team from last year. Guess the Yankees want to make the 2013 Red Sox into the 2014 Yankees so they can win the World Series too. Someone needs to tell them that of the 5 only 2 had anything to do with the World Series and no matter what they do, they can not duplicate what the Red Sox did last year!!

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