Brian Wilson recently crossed the New York Yankees off his list of potential team to sign with — due to the fact that New York Yankees can’t have facial hair (which is dumb because, among other reasons, damn near every “original yankee” had facial hair), and Brian Wilson refuses to shave (as per Andy McCollough by way of MLBTR).
The NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has discovered that Wilson isn’t the only 2013-2014 free agent who has ruled out signing with the Yankees. Indeed, there are several such players, and, like Wilson, their reasons for eschewing the Bronx Bombers are as colorful as their personalities (which is to say, not all that colorful, in some cases).
Those of you testing your Hot Stove predictive skills would be wise to take into account the following info (with the player’s FanGraphs Crowdsource free agent contract ranking in parentheses):
- Justin Morneau (NR) – Will not renounce Canadian citizenship to sign with Yankees. Canadian players have donned the pinstripes before, yes, but Yankees ownership hadn’t realized that Canada was a separate country, let alone one with universal health care. Since the departure of Russell Martin after the 2012 season, there have not been and will not be any Canadian players on the team. As for other players from other countries — such as the highest profile free agent Robinson Cano — their tenure with the team will depend on how long Yankees ownership believes places like the Dominican Republic and Japan are U.S. Territories.
- Marlon Byrd (#33) – Will not renounce his two-year, $16million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees won’t sign players that are currently under contract with another team. It’s just not gentlemanly. Byrd would have loved to returned to New York to play for the Yankees, but he wasn’t willing to give up $16M to do so. “I would have liked to sign an additional contract with the Yankees and played for both teams, but the Yankees have high standards, so here I sit,” Byrd said.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia (#9) – Will not shorten name to sign with Yankees. In the storied history of the Bombers, none of their players has had a last name as long as Salty’s (fourteen letters). The closest, so far as the Investigative Reporting Investigation Team could tell, were Bill Monbouquette (P, 1967–1968) and Doug Mientkiewicz (1B, 2007), both at twelve letters. Though players’ last names do not appear jerseys, the club is worried about “an unsightly, unAmerican feel to the scoreboard and in media guide and the like.”
- Ricky Nolasco (#7) – Refuses to put up an ERA that matches or bests his FIP, even to join the Yankees. “I did that once, in 2008,” Nolasco told the Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, “and I didn’t really like it. I’ve come to cherish the attention I receive from certain baseball nerds for perennially underperforming defense-independent metrics, and I’m not ready to give that up. The Yankees focus too much on actual results and not enough on what was most likely to happen given a neutralized context. I’ll catch on somewhere else — with a team who appreciates the what-might-have-been.”
- Bartolo Colon (#45) – There is a clause in CC Sabathia‘s contract that says his portion of the team’s porkbelly smorgasbord (served after Sunday home games) is to be the largest. Traditionally, Colon has agreed sign only if the signing team includes a similar clause in his contract. That’s not possible in the Bronx, so the Yanks will have to look elsewhere to shore up their pitching staff.
- Omar Infante (#17) – The Yankees have reportedly offered Infante several million dollars to “perform more like Robbie Cano and less like Omar Infante.” Infante, looking deep within himself, decided it was better not to do so. “If everybody plays like Robbie Cano, that’s not interesting. I don’t think fans would like that.” Infante will likely be paid several million dollars by another team to play like himself.
So there you have it. The New York Yankees will be missing out on any of this offseason’s top free agents due to the club’s obsession with tradition, performance, honoring contracts, appearance, and American patriotism.
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