Organizational Rankings: Current Talent – Yankees

It turns out even the Yankees have a budget. After years of steady increases in payroll, the Yankees have topped out around $200 million for each of the past five seasons, the most recent of which saw them reclaim a championship. At an estimated $212 million though, the Yankees 2010 payroll looks to be their highest in history trumping 2008 by a couple million.

The Yankees clearly had a successful season last year with 103 wins and a playoff championship. Our varied projection systems do not expect much of a drop off this year. You the readers ended up with 98 wins for the Yankees, four more than any other team in baseball. CHONE pegs New York at 99 wins, six more than any other team. CAIRO agrees with 99 wins and once again, six more than any other team.

What’s there to say about the Yankees current talent? Given the nature of the team, it’s not like there are any big surprises lurking on the roster that people haven’t heard of. It’s hard to find fault with players the like the Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez around the infield, but one issue that might come up for New York is their depth behind the starters. Aside from Cano, none of the starting five are young pups.

Teixeira is probably a good bet to stay healthy, but he’s also the one with the best backup, either Nick Johnson or Nick Swisher. Ramiro Pena, currently the backup 2B, SS and 3B overproduced last season thanks to his .340 BABIP. He isn’t bad as a backup but would be highly exposed if pressed into a starting role due to injury. Francisco Cervelli looks like a fine enough insurance policy on Posada that catching shouldn’t be much of a concern.

The outfield will depend a lot on how Gardner does with a full time role for the first time at the big league level. His bat strikes me as mostly average, but he’s a good fielder that can play in center and that will help overcome the positional hit in left field and should make him a roughly average player overall. Granderson is a nice upgrade over Melky Cabrera and with Randy Winn as a roving backup, the outfield defense should be very good this season.

In the rotation, the Yankees brought in Javier Vazquez for another go-around hoping that it works out better than the first time. even if it doesn’t, Vazquez should provide his steady 200 innings. For the “oh” decade (2000-2009), Vazquez was second only to Livan Hernandez (by 38 IP) for total innings pitched. Joba Chamberlain is out (for now) and Phil Hughes starts the year as the fifth starter.

Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, Sergio Mitre, Damaso Marte, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson were all above average last season in relief and should provide the bulk of the relief innings. Whether a Boone Logan or others fills out the back end is entirely negligible. It will be a solidly above average unit provided they do a better job avoiding the Jonathan Albaladejo‘s and Jose Veras‘ of 2009 this time.

Great hitting, improved fielding, improved starting pitching and a decent bullpen. $200 million helps a lot, but the Yankees have assembled a great team with that money.



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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


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greenfrog
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greenfrog

I agree that the Yankees have fielded excellent teams most years but $200M really is a lot of money. That’s roughly $8M per major-league roster spot. Subtract bench players and a few long relievers, and you’re looking at about $10M – 12M per player *on average*. And that doesn’t even include the Yankees’ player development budget. A GM would have to be pretty daft not to field a great team with that kind of money (especially when he or she has that level of money to work with year over year).

Boomer
Guest
Boomer

Tell that to the Mets.

descender
Member
descender

I think Omar proved that Cashman knows what he’s doing.

Boomer
Guest
Boomer

That’s my point; it’s not easy to field a winning team in MLB, even with a $150 million budget. Cashman does know what he’s doing, then question is will be he allowed to do it? For example, good economics might suggest playing hardball with Jeter and/or Rivera and maybe even letting someone walk, but will the media/fans allow it?

Sam
Guest
Sam

It is a balancing act. Yes, it is a lot of money, but it is also a lot of money locked up into a few players with long contracts. That is why Cashman’s recent acquisitions of Swisher and Granderson, who are inked into somewhat team-friendly budgets is significant, as well as the signing of Cano. If they can have both Phil and Joba to the rotation next year (I am assuming Pettitte will probably retire and Javy will probably move on), they still have enough budget flexibility for a starting pitcher and Carl Crawford. So they should be

The broad point of all this is Cashman is finding a way to outmuscle other organizations with financial power (Teix and Sox), while also retaining some degree of flexibility in doing so.

Omar
Guest
Omar

Wait? Peter Gammons told me Teixeira chose the Yankees because his wife doesn’t like shopping in Duxburry street.

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