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  1. I’m sure it was just an oversight, but Cabrera got traded to the Braves.

    Comment by eb — December 29, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  2. Well Cabrera probably isn’t an option for the Yankees in left field…

    Your message it well taken though!

    Comment by Adam — December 29, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  3. And that’s approximately the upgrade that Holliday would represent over the current Cabrera/Gardner tandem that they have penciled in to left field.

    Cabrera is now a Brave as part of the Vazquez deal. Otherwise, I agree.

    Where is the line where the marginal win value begins to deteriorate? 90-95 is still probably around market value, since it’s no guarantee to win the division with it, I suppose. 100 is most certainly in the low end of value per win.

    Comment by Michael — December 29, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  4. I think you meant Cabrera/Ajax tandem.

    Comment by MBD — December 29, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  5. It is scary to think that any team in the AL East doesn’t need more wins. Does the Yankees’ situation change if the Sox trade Ellsbury and sign Holliday?

    Comment by MBD — December 29, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  6. Dave, i have defended in my comments your posts for the last 6 times I have commented. This is one of your poorest arguments yet (perhaps even stupider than the time you argued that the order (as opposed to how many games/innings) a starting pitcher pitches matters.

    Sure, the odds of *Making* the playoffs doesnt change a whole heck of alot, and if you want to take Billy Beane literally, and that the playoffs are a crapshoot, then you would be correct. Once in the playoffs the odds of winning are .5*.5*.5 supposedly for .125 or 12.5% chances. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that teams can “come from anywhere* to win once in, but even an average team might have as much as a 5% chance of winning hte world series if they were in the playoffs, (say .4 *.4 * .3)

    However, while the yankees fiscal prudence might be, well prudent, it ISNT for the reason you would suggest.

    I remember mid october at the start of the series, there were several of us more mathematically inclined commenters that had the yankees as somewhere between a 55-60% favorite to win. BP had them at 59%, i think i had them at 57% give or take, and some reasonable people had them as high as 60-62%.

    In the playoffs, you are typically (and especially?) in the AL playing stronger teams, though the rays-sox are also playoff caliber in the AL east and only one of them can join the yankees in the playoffs.

    So even if your odds of making the postseason are 100%(!) your odds of winning it still matter.

    In these cases, marginally pushing the advantage against say the redsox in a given series from .53 to .55 is well worth it, especially since you might have 3 such series. The effect isnt truly additive, but if you could make yourself a 60% favorite in each series, your odds of winning it all jump from 12.5% to 21.6%, a MASSIVE improvement.

    And for the yankees, that 9% improvement is well worth paying for. Not just in terms of extra ticket/concession revenue (which mostly gets paid to players anyway), but also in adding to their banners.

    As a phillies fan, this is fairly disconcerting that our somewhat narrow shot at glory is coinciding with periods of good yankee management, but there is some solace that they aren’t say really leveraging up and paying $30 mil for 1 year of bay or our resident fly ball dropper for the cardinals.

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — December 29, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  7. The Yankees don’t seem anything, or any player, supoerflous, in any year. My point will be proven when they sign Carl Crawford next off-season amd make Dave’s point moot. Perhaps they simply like Crawford more than Holliday or Bay.

    Comment by mike — December 29, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  8. yes, exactly. the good reason to do this is if they cant get bay or holliday on a short term contract, and they like one of the monster outfielders that will be possible FA’s in october, then its good for them to wait long term

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — December 29, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  9. Unlikely.

    Comment by The Hit Dog — December 29, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  10. A decent point in theory, but it would be wrongheaded to argue that adding Bay or Holliday in LF would represent an additional 10% chance of winning each of the 3 playoff series. In all likelihood, they would be probably be bumping their percentage of winning each postseason series by ~2% or 3%, which, although still very significant, is a far cry from 10%.

    Comment by The Hit Dog — December 29, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  11. It’s a joke. They were both traded away.

    Comment by MBD — December 29, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  12. Werth would also be a great fit for their team…though they clearly like Crawford more.

    Comment by NEPP — December 29, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  13. It seems like the only reason to sign Holliday or Bay would be to prevent another divisional rival from reaping their benefits. Signing Holliday wouldn’t just be a 3-4 win signing. By preventing the Sox from getting him, it would be a net gain of 6-8 wins.

    Comment by PJ — December 29, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  14. agreed hit dog, i was trying to keep numbers round, but while i dont know the exact value that bay would provide (and subsequent probable strengthening of the bench), it is integral enough to almost surely be worth it for the yankees from a short term perspective

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — December 29, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  15. @theunrepentantgunner: your argument has a reasonable premise, that marginal playoff success added is a reasonable consideration for a team like the yankees. but what i take issue with is your statement that a player like holliday adds 9% to a team’s chances of winning it all. if as you state an average team has around a 40% chance in a playoff series and a better than average team like the 2009 yankees had between a 55%-60%, then the marginal value of an above average roster(the entire playoff roster) is in your estimation between .15-.2. even weighting the most above average players (like arod or jeter) more heavily you might get a marginal value of .03 for a player of holliday’s caliber for each round of the playoffs. over three rounds the yanks go from being say 17% to win it all (w/a roster w/a 55%) to a 20% to win it all (w/ a roster w/a 58%). so holliday nets you an additional 3% to win it all (and that is being generous i believe in terms of an additional star’s marginal playoff round value). if there is evidence to show that stars net you more marginal playoff value i would defer to that but under the assumptions you state the marginal value is much less than you state and i am uncertain as to its monetary value or its banner room value.

    Comment by pepe — December 29, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  16. Only if Boston has a replacement-level left fielder, which they don’t. Holliday would be replacing Ellsbury, who’s realistically 2-3 WAR anyway. I’m not sure Holliday makes a ton of sense for the Sox.

    Comment by Kevin S. — December 29, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  17. Cashman seems to like what he sees coming in the 2010-11 FA class. He also has decisions to make regarding Jeter and Mo. Expensive decisions, most people think.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if they did end up bringing back Damon, though.

    Comment by Rob in CT — December 29, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  18. The problem is that we keep comparing the Yankees to other teams. If you haven’t noticed they are completely different than any other team so the normal rules don’t apply to them. Matt Holliday makes their team better than Brett Gardner and since payroll doesn’t really matter (especially at what they are at now compared to previous years) there is no real reason not to sign him. The Yankees #1 advantage over every other team is the fact that they generate tons more in revenue than any other team so why wouldn’t you use that advantage? Throwing that advantage away to play some scrub that wouldn’t even start for any other major league is just plain stupid.

    I also don’t understand what makes Crawford that much more desirable than Matt Holliday. Holliday has been better recently and is only 7 month older than Crawford will be next season. The logical move would be to sign both because they are both superior to Nick Swisher.

    Comment by Tom — December 29, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  19. What monster FA class? There are really only two good OF’ers that become free agents after 2010 – Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. Neither has been as good as Holliday lately and Werth is 7 months older than Holliday (who is 7 months older than Crawford).

    Comment by Tom — December 29, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  20. Dave’s original point had to do with the win curve for the Yankees. No one here seems to be clear on what that is. It’s the marginal revenue the team gets per additional win; nothing directly to do with salary costs or the post-season.

    The reason why it doesn’t make sense to sign Holliday is that the Yankees already project out as a (I’m guessing here) 108-110 win team. The 111-115th wins (or so) in total yield less than $18 million in marginal revenue, so you’re wasting money by signing Holliday. Not to mention the strategic issues of another long-term signing, as others have pointed out.

    Adding expensive players now to increase your chance of winning the WS? Look up “counting your chickens before they aere hatched” in the dictionary…

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  21. Adding expensive players now to increase your chance of winning the WS? Look up “counting your chickens before they aere hatched” in the dictionary…

    Didn’t you just say that you think they are a 108-110 win team?

    The Yankees aren’t really focused on the first 162 games of the season, they are more focused on the 11 wins that come after that. Since Matt Holliday increases the Yankees chances of getting those 11 wins over Brett Gardner, and since the $20m a year won’t cripple the team finances, why wouldn’t you sign him?

    Comment by Tom — December 29, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  22. I understand what a win curve is, but I do think that TheUnrepentantGunner has a good point if you look at the overall perspective. I agree with pepe that it is more like a 3% increase, not a 9% increase, but 3% is still significant, and one could argue that adding a player such as Holliday would be the rational decision if your aim is to win the WS.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  23. Hence my comment. Didn’t know you were joking. Someone pickpocketed my sense of humor from me in ’95.

    Comment by The Hit Dog — December 29, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  24. Nope.

    Making the playoffs is worth probably $25 million to the NYY. Winning the WS probably another $25 million in revenues. But you’re got to split that with players, etc. so the team’s take is maybe $40 million (say $20 million each).

    Let’s say the NYY have an 80% chance of making the playoffs and a 12.5% chance of winning the WS as currently constructed. So, the expected value of the current NYY playoffs is: .8*20+.125*20= $18.5 million

    Adding Holliday doesn’t change the chance of making the playoffs significantly, because the only way the NYY don’t make the playoffs is if the wheels come off. if CC and AJ are both injured and out for the year, unless Holliday has a great changeup, it’s going to be a problem to make the playoffs.

    But Holliday does help in the playoffs. But how much? Say he increases your odds from 1/8 to 1/6. I don’t actually believe this, but say he does. So, now your expected payoff is:
    .8*20+.167*20= $19.3 million. So for your $18 million, you get negative marginal revenues in the regular season and $0.8 million more in the playoffs.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  25. I agree that Holliday > the 2011 FA left fielders. I’m not really a believer in Crawford (OBP is the issue for me) and Werth doesn’t have the track record and is older with more of an injury history.

    But there is more to a given FA class than the LFers. Pitchers, possibly an amazing catcher, etc.

    Comment by Rob in CT — December 29, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  26. 1. I’m not sure that Gardner is a scrub that wouldn’t play for another team. He’s no star, but you may be underestimating him (specifically, his glove).

    2. The Yankees have upgraded CF and the starting rotation, basically treaded water at DH (possibly upgraded), and are looking at a downgrade in LF. Depending on how bad you think Damon will be in the field for 2010, and how good Gardner will be, that downgrade could be significant, or it could be tiny. How does that add up to “throwing away their advantage?”

    3. I agree that Holliday > Crawford. The Yankees may not. Or they could be looking at a different 2010/11 FA (Mauer? Lee? Beckett?). We’ll see, I guess.

    Comment by Rob in CT — December 29, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

  27. That is if you assume the goal of the Yankees organisation is to make a profit. A say, 3% increase in the probability of you winning the WS is still significant, so one could argue that adding a player such as Holliday would be the rational decision if your aim is to win the WS. I agree it would not be rational if your aim is to maximise profits, but the way the article is worded, in spite of the title, does not emphasise this.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

  28. Werth’s injury history was mostly that misdiagnosed wrist issue, which seems to be okay now. Another full healthy season and I doubt there will be much concern.

    Comment by Bill — December 29, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  29. Look at the choices the Yankees have for their long(er)-term LF.

    1.) Jason Bay. Run producer who has proven he can hit in the AL East. But he’s a poor fielder, and Yankee Stadium is fairly expansive in LF. Bay is 31-years-old. Yankee Stadium will likely hurt Bay’s numbers, too. Probably not the best fit.

    2.) Matt Holliday. Holliday is a better fielder than Bay, but Holliday has not proven he can produce in a large, pitchers’ park, nor has he proven hit mettle in the tough AL East. Holliday is about to turn 30-years-old.

    3.) Carl Crawford. Crawford is one of the best defensive LF’s in the game. He has great speed on the bases, averaging 50 SB per year, going first-to-third on singles, etc… Crawford will turn 29-years-old next August, meaning if they signed him after 2010, the Yankees would stand to get four or five prime years of Crawford’s career.

    Crawford is probably the most complete player the Yankees could acquire. He doesn’t provide the punch of Matt Holliday, assuming Holliday would hit the same in the AL as he hit in Colorado and St. Louis. But Crawford does things that Holliday can’t do, and the Yankees already have good power in the middle of their lineup.

    For these reasons, I believe the Yankees have Carl Crawford in their cross-hairs for next offseason.

    Comment by waynetolleson — December 29, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  30. It appears that Bay is off the market now anyway.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  31. Then what does it say about me if your last comment made me laugh?

    Comment by MBD — December 29, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  32. Well, if economics is out the window and all you care about is winnign the WS, then why bother with win curves, stats, etc. anyway? Just spend like a drunken sailor!

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  33. I’m not saying that we should throw economics out the window. My point is, that the aim of the Yankees, particuarly in the past decade, has been to win a WS whilst not operating at too big a loss. If this mindset were to continue, the rational decision would be to sign Holliday, since they have shown that they are willing to operate at a ~$10m deficit each year and signing Holliday would go along with that. It should also be noted that they will have to pay less luxury tax next year as the limit is yet again rising.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  34. That’s kind of the point. The Yankees spent 56% more in payroll over the past 5 years than the Red Sox (the probably #2 team) — $1.003b vs. $642m. Wouldn’t be foolish to not use your great advantage over every other team?

    Comment by Tom — December 29, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

  35. I completely agree with the premise of this post. While this may be a little off point, I’m a little puzzled by the Vasquez trade. Here’s why…

    The reasoning of this article leads to the conclusion that, for example, Matt Holliday should sign with the Cardinals rather than the Yankees because he is worth comparatively more to the Cardinals. Accordingly, the Cardinals should be willing to pay more for his services; assuming he is seeking to maximize income, he should sign with them. Just making numbers up here, if Holliday produces 3 wins above the next-best option for both the Cards and the Yankees, he is worth more to the Cardinals because the movement from wins 90 to 93 increases playoff odds significantly more than the movement from 100 to 103. All good.

    However, Vasquez was traded from a team competing for a playoff spot (the Braves) to a team in which he adds very little playoff probability. And, as the team’s projected 4th starter, he would likewise seem to add relatively little in terms of odds of winning a playoff series (in contrast to, say, CC Sabathia). All else equal, one would expect players to move from teams in which they add less value to those in which they add more value. That is, if the Yankees value Vasquez’s production at $8 million but the Braves at $20 million (numbers that seem plausible), then it seems unlikely (and indeed irrational) for them to agree to a mutually-beneficial trade. On the other hand, if the numbers are reversed, then a trade benefits both parties as long as the return for Vasquez is greater than $8M but less than $20M.

    As such, I don’t understand the trade from the perspective of marginal wins, as the Braves are at the point where the value of marginal wins is much larger than it is for the Yankees. A couple explanations that might make sense:
    1) The difference in the next best alternative. This might make sense, given the Braves’ rotation depth. That is, even though Vasquez may be a 5 WAR player, if the Yankees’ projected 5th starter is a 1 WAR player but the Braves’ 6th starter is a 3 WAR pitcher, then he’s worth 4 marginal wins to the Yankees but only 2 to the Braves (again, just making up numbers to illustrate the point).
    2) The Braves thought they could save the money and find more marginal win probability on the market. This might make sense if the Braves were planning on adding Matt Holliday, but I don’t think that’s the case.

    I apologize for the long post. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Thunderbird — December 29, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  36. It that was the NYY’s aim, I’d rethink the strategy. 1 WS win in a decade is not a great result if that’s your sole object.

    Signing Holliday for $18 million ($24 with luxury tax) means you assume that the NYY are in the black now for at least $14 million. Any figures to support that? I would guess that they broke even at best last year, as I don’t think the bump from the NYS was as big as hoped. If that’s true, by your own figures signing Holliday would mean running at more than a $10 million loss, and that’s assuming another WS win, which is by no means certain at this point.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  37. It’s only an advantage up to a point. At some point, every team will start to experience diminishing returns for more wins.

    So what if the Yankees win the AL East by 20 games? It’s literally the same economically as winning by 10 games. Or worse, if you paid a lot for talent to win those 10 extra games.

    Anyhow, it’s clear you guys aren’t convinced.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  38. I think it was a pure salary move by the Braves, as they needed more offense (17th in 2009 in runs scored) and didn’t have any salary room to get it. You might ask who (at this point) they think they can get with their headroom, which is a very good question. I would guess it will be a trade for a bad salary (say Burrell from the Rays) as opposed to a FA signing, but hell, who knows?

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  39. Your thesis is sound Dave and a counter argument that suggests a Bay or Holliday adds more than 1-2 percent odds each playoff series is false. They are not starting pitchers and the chance that someone else on the team provides the offensive value each game is pretty high.

    Having said that, the bargain shopping of the Yankees stands to be very different than the bargain shopping of other teams. I just do not see the Yankees having a Reed Johnson or Jerry Hairston as the starting LF. Maybe a guy like Ankiel, Winn or Kearns could be options and if they flame out the Yankees still have the pieces to aquire Crawford at the deadline.

    Comment by mowill — December 29, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  40. I cannot give exact figures for last year, since they have not yet been published, but the figures for the past few years are $26m, $37m, $50m, $25m, $47m and $4m losses for the 03-08 seasons. As it stands, the Yankees have a salary around $30m lower than the 08 season and even assuming no bump from the new stadium, with the $20-$40m gained over the 08 season from the playoffs/WS, the Yankees have plenty of money to spend to stay within their mindset.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

  41. Whilst Vasquez is more valuable to the Braves than the Yankees, the Yankees were willing to trade for the pitching depth. It should be noted that it wasn’t just a complete salary move, as whilst that was probably the primary reason, they also gained players/prospects in the deal. It was beneficial to both sides if you look past marginal wins.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  42. I’m not saying that it was completely a salary move. The value being traded to the Braves was made up of money in addition to other players. Assuming teams are seeking to maximize value, the trade only happens if it increases the team’s expected value. That is, the trade only makes sense if the Braves derive more value from the “package” they received in return for Vazquez, while at the same time the Yankees derive more value from Vazquez than what they gave up to get him.

    What I am saying is that the Braves should have valued Vazquez higher than the Yankees, given their relative places on the win curve. Logically, the Braves shouldn’t trade him unless they can get more value than he is worth to them, and the Yankees should not have been willing to provide such value (since he is assumed to be worth less to the Yankees).

    I think another way of reconciling this conundrum may be that the value of making the playoffs is not the same for all teams. Given the larger market, more fans, more expensive tickets, etc., the value to the Yankees of making the playoffs (and of winning once they get there) is likely greater than the value of making the playoffs for the Braves. This could possibly explain why they valued Vazquez more highly than the Braves, even though they get less of a bump in playoff probability from having him on the team.

    Thus, it is possible that, even though the marginal playoff probability of the Yankees’ 101st win is significantly less than the marginal playoff probability of the Braves’ 91st win, the Yankees get so much more value out of making the playoffs than do the Braves that this makes up the difference.

    Comment by Thunderbird — December 29, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

  43. I’m not saying that you were Thunderbird.

    I follow your logic, but i think we need to look at it from the other side. The Braves would have valued Vazquez higher than the Yankees, but they would have also valued the money and the players they got in return higher than the Yankees. To the Yankees, the prospects they gave up are not so important, since they can afford to ‘replace’ them with veteran players, however the Braves cannot.

    Comment by TsB — December 29, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  44. “So, perhaps we should not be so surprised that New York is bargain shopping in left field, avoiding the likes of Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.”

    I’ll believe NYY is NOT interested in Holliday when Matt signs with another team. Until then, for all we know, they could be ready to “snipe” him ‘e-bay style’.

    NYY could be lying in wait, not wanting to bid against their “final offer” before it’s time.

    All financial contraints do not apply to NYY. They are in a completely unique and resource-rich environment. They have also shown that they can and will do anyting to increase their chances of winning the WS, and yes, winning the WS is the only thing that matters to NYY.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 29, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  45. Fair enough. I agree that it wasn’t just about the salary, Cabrera and co. will be helpful to the Braves.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 29, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  46. TsB: That makes sense a lot of sense.

    Comment by Thunderbird — December 29, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  47. Just to chime in on the Holliday vs. Crawford bit…

    I can see why some people like Holliday over Crawford but here are a couple of things to consider:

    1. Holliday has never shown good numbers against AL pitching (let alone the AL East), Crawford on the other hand has been doing a decent job hitting in the AL East. I am a firm believer that Holliday’s numbers are inflated by his playing in Coors Field and playing in the NL (by how much, I can’t say – but I’m sure someone can provide an estimate of what Holliday’s numbers will be in the AL East)

    2. Defense? Are we seriously even debating who’s the better defender?

    It comes down which is more important to the Yankees: offense or defense? Personally, I’d rather the Yankees save for next off season to pick up Lee, Beckett, Mauer, Crawford, maybe some or all of them. Right now I just don’t see the need to add Holliday’s production (or Crawford’s, if the Yankees could trade for him) into the Yankees lineup. Besides where would you slot Holliday? 5th? I’d rather have a proven bat behind ARod. Second? Then why the hell did the Yankees sign Nick Johnson (who, to me, slots perfectly ahead of Tex)? That leaves the bottom half of the lineup which would be really looking good with Holliday anchoring its production, but can Holliday even produce that low in the batting order? I’m not even convinced he can produce in the AL, so you know my answer to that…

    Comment by smile_mmmm — December 29, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  48. It’s not just about the 2011 FA left fielders, The money cashman saves in can be spent on ANY of the free agents. Like:

    1) Joe Mauer (with posada acting as a DH/backup catcher)
    2) Cliff lee (you can never have to much good pitching)
    3) Adam Dunn (Great bat and eye, perfect DH)
    4) Carl Crawford (easily a 4WAR player every year)

    They will have at least 70 million to spend (but they do have to resign Derek Jeter and Mo)

    Also good 2011 free agents:
    Jayson Werth
    Victor Martinez
    Javier Vazquez
    Brandon Inge
    Manny Ramirez
    Josh Beckett
    Brandon Webb
    Andy Pettitte

    Comment by jason — December 29, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  49. “Besides where would you slot Holliday? 5th? I’d rather have a proven bat behind ARod”

    How is Holliday not a proven hitter? He is more proven than any of the Yankees other options to hit 5th I’d say.

    And also, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t be able to produce from the bottom of the order. The yankees have plenty of offensive weapons and the second half of their lineup is as good as the top of the order for some teams. Hitting lower in the lineup won’t affect production much in any situation anyway.

    I’m not sure that they should sign him, but I just don’t understand these points.

    Comment by timmy013 — December 29, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  50. about this win curve…

    when you say the Yankees are a 100 win team, is this roughly some sort of normal curve with a median of 100 wins? depending on any regression, injuries, luck etc?

    and if this is the case, while adding a bat such as Holliday may not change the median very much because it doesnt extend the upper tail of the curve, isn’t it possible that it does a lot of good in bringing up the lower tail? and when in a division with the Red Sox and Rays, isn’t bringing up the lower tail pretty important?

    Comment by Tim_the_Beaver — December 29, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  51. Who does need Holliday? The Marlins.

    In terms of WAR, the Marlins were a top four combined offensive/defensive team last season (+19.6 WAR). And despite the fact that their combined pitching value of +14.1 WAR ranked bottom half of the league last season, they were within 5 WAR of a top 4 spot in pitching (a gap that could be bridged with a Matt Holliday-like player (a +5.7 or higher WAR player each of the last three seasons, including his injured 2008)). Collectively, the Marlins were a +33.7 WAR team last season. That made them the sixth best NL team, behind the Dodgers (+43.3 WAR), Rockies (+42.3 WAR), Braves (+41.3 WAR), Phillies (+40.8 WAR), and Cardinals (+38.1 WAR). Next season, it looks the Cardinals will lose Joel Pinero (+4.8 WAR) and Matt Holliday (+2.7 WAR for the Cardinals) and the Rockies will lose the value that Jason Marquis (+3.8 WAR) provided them. With a smart FA addition (specifically Holliday and perhaps a Valverde-like player), the Marlins stand in a good position to be a top four NL team next season with the right additions. As Fangraphs pointed out earlier this month, “the composition of a team’s talent and their relation to their division opponents can have a pretty significant effect on their internal marginal value of a win. A win to the Rays is significantly more valuable than a win to the Astros because of the respective effect of that win on the odds of either team making the playoffs.”

    In other words, the Marlins are exactly the kind of team that should be spending some money on the Free Agency market.

    More at:

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — December 29, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

  52. Some of the other points noted above are also valid, but this one is the most relevant. As constituted, the Yankees very well might have a 100 win team, but that assumes everyone stays healthy and performs up to expectations. Signing Holliday probably doesn’t have much “marginal utility” under such a circumstance, but it would if a less than best case scenario unfolds. Because the Yankees have the resources, it makes sense for them to pay for Holliday. It’s almost like taking out an insurance policy.

    Now, if the Yankees don’t really value the player and think it will prevent them from signing a better player, that’s another story.

    Comment by Will — December 29, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

  53. I just took the time to read over everones posts and I wouldl like to chime in. While I am a die-hard Yankees fan (hve been since growing up in the 70’s, I.m 37) I do like the course of the current team. I think they can easily get by with giving Gardner every chance in LF. Then wait it out trade him next year and sign Crawford while Gardners trade value could be the highest. If not make a deadline move for a LF’er if the need arises(which I do not think it will). I do not know how they won with a three man rotation in the playoffs which was very luck and prob. will never happen again. So with that said pitching and great defense wins championships, so I am not sure all your values and numbers you are talking about, but Vasquez has alot more value in my eyes then Holliday or Bay. And having Vasquez in that rotation only makes the bullpen stronger whether its Chamberlain or Hughes out there for the 7th and 8th innings. The Yankees did what they had to do last offseason, and did more then what they needed to already this offseason. And they have their eyes set on next years FA market and should not commit to another long term dead weight contract like what Holiday would command….

    Comment by Timothy J. McGuire - Computer Doctors — December 29, 2009 @ 11:44 pm

  54. I read over every post as well, and, based primarily on what it would take in years and money, I still can’t see an overwhelming reason for the Yanks to even consider signing Holliday over making a run for Crawford next off-season.

    With Tex and A-Rod locked up for years, there’s no need for a thumper at the expense of defense. As solid as he is, not even Jeter can defy time, and getting a Crawford to leadoff allows Jeter to slide back into the 2 Hole … something that simply doesn’t happen with Holliday in the lineup.

    I agree with the people who posted that the Yanks are looking ahead. Of the following lineups, none of which include other possible FA pickups for 2011 …

    Crawford – LF
    Jeter – SS
    Teixeira – 1B
    A-Rod – 3B
    Granderson – CF
    Johnson – DH
    Posada – DH/C
    Cano – 2B
    Swisher – RF



    … I prefer the first.

    (of course those lineups assume that Jeter will/will be resigned and Posada puts his pride aside and resigns to be the DH)

    There’s simply no reason to try and write-in a Fantasy League lineup in MLB; none.

    Crawford & Granderson would give the Yanks the best Defensive OF it’s had in decades … and they’re not liabilities at the plate … and they cost less than any Scott BorASS client.

    Save the money for 2011 when you have a chance to not only sign Crawford but to also put together possibly the best Pitching Rotation in MLB.

    Lastly, I think Mauer is a pipe-dream. I think he’s a throwback player who values just about everything else ahead of who’ll pay him the most money … and since I grew up & live in NYC, I doubt he’d sign here.

    … but I’ve been (very) wrong before! (lol)

    Comment by seth3esq — December 30, 2009 @ 12:22 am

  55. I keep hearing about Mauer, and you are right that is a total pipe dream. He is a Minn native and the Twins will do everything to resign him long term and I do not even think he hits the free agent market. Plus aren’t close to 5 of the Yankees top 10 prospects catchers ( not including this years backup). Let Posada play until Montero or one of the other studs are ready. Hang tight this year and pick up Crawford and either Lee or another great SP stud not named Beckett next offseason. Resign Jeter and Mo (no-brainers). Then you have a great young lineup with a quality mix of veterans with an amazing pitching staff both starters and relievers and you have the makings of another Yankee dynasty reminiscant of the late 70’s and/or mid 90’s…

    Comment by Timothy J. McGuire - Computer Doctors — December 30, 2009 @ 1:38 am

  56. The Yankees 2011 Lineup:
    Crawford – LF
    Jeter – SS
    Teixeira – 1B
    A-Rod – 3B
    Granderson – CF
    Cano – 2B
    Posada – DH/C
    Montero – C
    Swisher – RF

    CC Sabathia – SP
    Bonderman/Lee – SP
    AJ Burnett – SP
    Jasquez – SP
    Hughes – SP

    The only question would remain is does Mo want to go after Hoffmans record or does he retire?

    Comment by Timothy J. McGuire - Computer Doctors — December 30, 2009 @ 1:45 am

  57. “… I prefer the first.”

    Is there any reason why NYY couldn’t sign Holliday this year AND Crawford next yeay?

    Not many teams could do that, but we’re talking about the NYY.

    We’re talking about a team that spoke of their “World Series drought” … of a WHOLE 8 years, despite making the playoffs 9 years out of 10 (and something like 14 out of 15 years if you go back outside of this ‘decade’).

    They (seemingly) viewed 2 titles in 10 years as merely “acceptable”.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 30, 2009 @ 1:51 am

  58. Good Lord …

    How many All-Stars could one team have? *grin*

    Are they the only team that looks at a 3.5WAR player as their “weak link”? Heh Heh.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 30, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  59. What constitutes success over the next decade? 3 or 4 WS trophies, 5 or 6 pennants, something like that? The question is what move maximizes the Yankees chances of meeting that goal. By that measure, I would pass on Holliday and save money for the next offseason. This of course assumes that there will be other spots to put that money in the near future. If you look around the diamond, the Yankees are likely set at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF for the next 3 or so years, and have a number of catching prospects. They also have 2 starters inked long term as well as 2 great starting prospects. So going forward, I could see them spending that money at corner outfield, and on one starter. We keep talking about next offseason, but if Mauer doesnt make it to FA, which I already said he prob wont, then it all hedges between Holliday this year or a full court press for Crawford in 11. I say play Gardner and wait for Crawford and another great SP next year.

    Comment by Timothy J. McGuire - Computer Doctors — December 30, 2009 @ 2:40 am

  60. co-sign!

    Besides … and I made this point on another site and got crucified for it … Holliday has NOT proven he’s even WORTH the “Stud” label NOR the salary that comes with it.

    Not in the AL.

    Yes, he IS an above-average player who may or may NOT go back to the level he was with the Rox … but you do not invest that kind of money & years on “potential”. There has to be, at the very least, a modicum of consistency.

    $18M+/Year for 5-6 years is a lot of money to pay for a 3-year average of: .325 28HR 107R 111RBI 18SB

    … especially when 2 of those 3 years were in Colorado and the “worst” of those years were Oakland & St. Louis (where the stats with the latter being FAR better than with the former)

    Maybe I’m just jaded because he’s a BorASS client? Again, Holliday, in fact, is NOT a bad player at all! However, IMO, when you have a lineup like the Yanks have, you simply have better ways to spend that kind of money.

    The best place for Holliday?
    Maybe LA could’ve eaten half his salary and moved Manny for some pitching, then signed Holliday for LF.

    Holliday/Kemp/Either would be a great OF for the next 3-4 years

    Comment by seth3esq — December 30, 2009 @ 2:57 am

  61. The Yanks do NOT need Holliday’s & Boras’s contract demands. Take away his inflated Coors Years numbers and he is an average baseball player.

    Gardner may not be a “stud” but he’s a Major League Baseball player. Let him play a solid defensive LF and whatever you get out of him in the 9 hole is a bonus.

    Keep the payroll as close to being under $200M as possible and NEXT season work on putting together possibly the best Rotation in baseball. Lee or Bonderman will slide really nice into the 2 hole…Sign Crawford or Werth for the future in 11.
    Then sit back and enjoy another dynasty!!!!

    Comment by Timothy J. McGuire - Computer Doctors — December 30, 2009 @ 3:09 am

  62. Montero will be left fielder. He will not be the catcher of the future. If Crawford is acquired, goodbye swisher, montero moves to right.
    2011, Lee, Crawford and ensure a closer is available in stock we have or can obtain. 3 WS, Championships in a row.

    Comment by Rev Belt — December 30, 2009 @ 4:38 am

  63. You are seriously under-rating Holliday. He’s considerably better than Crawford and only one year older, with skills that seem likely to age better than Crawford’s (who seems to derive most of his value from good contact hitting and speedy defence/base-running, two things that can quickly deteriorate due to injury or reduced reaction time, especially when the player’s baseline walkrate is so poor).

    Also, you mention that Holliday hasn’t proven he can hit in a large pitchers’ park. He played (and hit well) in two pitchers’ parks last year (Busch & Oakland), and in any case, Yankee stadium is a great hitters’ park, as is Fenway. If anything, Yankee stadium should boost his numbers.

    Holliday is better than Crawford and will be better than Crawford for the next 5 years.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — December 30, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  64. “Making the playoffs is worth probably $25 million to the NYY. Winning the WS probably another $25 million in revenues.”

    Boomer, I’m pretty sure that’s an enormous underestimate. Yankee Stadium seats about 50k, and (assuming the average attendee at a post-season game pays about $200 in total, including concessions, ticket prices and memorabilia etc., which is probably also an underestimate, given that I assume you won’t be able to find a cheaper ticket than about $100 in New York for a post-season game, beers cost about $10 each, and they’ve got a ton of mega-expensive corporate seating and executive boxes), that’s $10m in revenue per home post-season game, without even including TV monies and other external revenue streams like post-season merchandising.

    Assuming the Yanks have home advantage all the way through, that’s a minimum of 6 games, and a more likely figure of 8-12 that’ll be played at Yankee Stadium. Probably $100m+ for winning the world series would be a better estimate.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — December 30, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  65. This is a smoke screen the Yankees blow every year. When the yankees say they have no interest in a high profile player, they actually have a lot of interest. It helps the yankees not get into a bidding war.

    Comment by Mandingo — December 30, 2009 @ 8:06 am

  66. sure the team would be better with either Bay or Holliday, but for how many years? The Yankees aren’t staying away from them because they want to make it fair for the rest of the league. They have legitemate concerns about the effects of signing either of them long term. Payroll and roster flexibility do have value when building a team for the long term. Now, If either of these guys came down to a one year deal in the 15 million range(never ever happen) of course they would jump ion and get them.

    Comment by johnny — December 30, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  67. for now keep gardner and sign nady if he gets healthy they will have a very good OF. then look ahead to fill pitching in 2011

    Comment by george — December 30, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  68. Sure, this is fine in theory until either Swisher and/or Granderson gets hurt. Then what? You’ve got nobody out there.

    Comment by cph — December 30, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  69. BOOMER


    DECADE 2000-2009 = A DECADE

    2010-2019 = A DECADE

    2020-2029 = A DECADE

    YOU GOT IT ?

    Comment by get it right please! — December 30, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  70. get it right: did your shift key and space bar break? I hear that you can get a new keyboard pretty cheap.

    Comment by cph — December 30, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  71. The win curve is not normal.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 30, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  72. Great post.

    A couple extra thoughts:

    We cannot anticipate that the post-George Steinbrenner Yankees have the same goals in mind, but we can be sure that they have very different methods. Win the “WS in the current year” was not a rational goal and I certainly hope it has been superseded by a goal to maximize wins over the next five to eight years (goals which are incompatible). Another example of a recent management philosophy chance, as has been written in several places, is that the starting lineup went from old to young very recently. Consequently, several comments that suggest that Hal’s Yankees goals remain consistent with George’s seem inadequately supported.

    Second, there seems to be consensus that free agents like Holliday cost the Yankees more than the value of marginal wins to get to the post-season, while there’s a proposal that there is value in improving chances of a win in the post season. The other argument is that Holliday would serve as “insurance.” Neither of these argument recognize that near the trade deadline the Yankees will not only have 1) much more information about where an upgrade in WAR is most needed (ie possibly not in LF which is young and healthy, but instead at catcher) 2) more leverage (given better knowledge of marginal win value at the deadline) to trade for expiring contracts from teams out of the running 3) “insurance” in the form of money that can be spent for any need – not just the outfield.

    On the other hand, I agree with some that the Yankees are almost certainly actively engaged in signing Holiday and are just insuring he goes expensive or to the yankees.

    Comment by Yankster — December 30, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  73. Got a link to back up your assertion? There are no standards for decades and I can start mine in 2001 if I want to.

    Take the twist out of your panties now.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 30, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  74. I think $100 milion is way too high. It could be higher than my estimate, but unless it’s a lot higher (more than $100 million), it still doesn’t make economic sense to sign Holliday.

    Comment by The Boomer — December 30, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  75. While you may start your decade whenever you wish, a decade must, by definition, encompass 10 years. The most recent decade, or period of 10 years, would run from 2000 through 2009. Starting your decade at 2001 makes no sense, inasmuch as that “decade” would only encompass 9 years, unless you’re already counting 2010. Since none of us can predict with certainty who will win the 2010 WS, you are effectively not speaking of a decade, but of the period of the last 9 years, if you start your decade at 2001.

    Comment by cph — December 30, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  76. pepe, i agree with you. while i had posted my concession in a different post earlier, you fleshed out the numbers, i saw your 3% number and thought that felt about right. I ran some quick math myself and think that it is probably closer to 2%, but still, that is significant, and well worth it for the yankees.

    To the rest, while crawford or even werth in 2011 might be worth it, it woulda been interesting to see them offer 35 mil for one year. An over pay for sure, but it’s then clear that the player is giving up a guaranteed 80 mil over 5 years for the chance to make 35 mil year one, and then maybe 15 mil a year for 4 years (the first year of holliday should be his most valuable as its nearest to his peak?), but that’s an outside the box move i dont think we will see.

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — December 30, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  77. DUN

    Comment by Trill — December 30, 2009 @ 11:02 pm

    GARDNER = 2011 MVP

    Comment by Trill — December 30, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  79. I think $100 milion is way too high. It could be higher than my estimate, but unless it’s a lot higher (more than $100 million), it still doesn’t make economic sense to sign Holliday.

    That article was written on October 31 (2007). I suspect that when it refers to additional Red Sox revenues from winning the series in the next 5 years being in the $45m range, that it isn’t including ticket and concession revenue for the games which had already been played when the article was written.

    Considering that, and even discounting the $10m/game of direct revenue for the players’ share and various indirect costs like increased arb awards for “world series heroes”, $100m seems in the ballpark to me.

    Comment by Telnar — January 2, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  80. Sorry about the bad HTML. I’ll close the bold and ital here in case the site didn’t do it automatically.

    Comment by Telnar — January 2, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

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