Bye-Bye Bruney

Joel Sherman is tweeting that the Yankees have sent Brian Bruney to the Nationals for the infamous PTBNL. 

At this point you have to think that anything they got was a plus because I don’t think they would have tendered him a contract since it probably would have cost them about $2 million. 

Andy Says No (For Now)

The Post is reporting that Andy Pettitte rejected a one-year/$10 million offer from the Yankees.  But, ESPN is reporting he will pitch in 2010 and it is a matter of "working out a deal with the Yankees."

That’s a pretty good offer he rejected, but I think the Yankees would go a bit higher,  He made about $10.5 million last year with the incentives, so I could see the Yankees going up to $12 million.  We shall see.

Will The Meetings Tell Us Anything?

The Baseball Winter Meetings start tomorrow and they should be a lot of activity.  The problem is a lot of it might not occur for the Yankees.  Other than Andy Pettitte, there really doesn’t seem to be any player the Yankees have targeted as a "must have".  Sure, they would like Damon back and yes they will certainly ask how much Lackey is going to cost, but the fact is they will probably bide their time.

There is one area we may see some movement occur and that is a trade involving minor leaguers.  With the 40-man roster almost full and the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, I could see Cashman trying to trade a couple of his Rule 5 eligible players for some non-eligible ones.  

Whatever happens, I will be blogging frequently about rumors and (hopefully) real news.  

Payroll Going Down?

According to Buster Olney, the Yankees are cutting their payroll.  No real shock there, but more surprising is the number they are aiming for- $185 million.  So, let’s do some math.

According to Cot’s, the Yankees started off 2006 with a payroll of $206 million.  (All figures in millions)   Free agents Matsui ($13)+Damon($13)+Nady($6.25)+Molina($2.125)+Pettitte($5.5)=about $40 million off the payroll.  Let’s also assume they non-tender Wang and you are now at a payroll of $161 million.

But, we have some raises to consider.  Sabathia’s salary goes up ($9).  Cano’s salary goes up ($3) Swisher’s salary goes up ($1.5), Jeter’s salary goes up ($1) and Marte’s ($0.25).  That’s a total of about $15 million which brings the payroll to about $176 million, or $9 million short of the rumored goal.  Add in arbitration for players like Cabrera (probably at least another $1 million more) and it’s going to be hard to squeeze under $185 million while signing any free agents- Pettitte, Damon, Matsui, etc.. 

Personally, I think the Yankees are going to be higher than $185 million, based on these numbers, but I think the trend is pretty clear- downward.  No, I don’t think they will relinquish their spot at the top of the payroll charts, but I think the gap between them and the other teams will shrink dramatically in the coming years.  Proof of that will come next winter when Jeter and Rivera become free agents. 

Some more confirmation of a shrinking payroll, but no hard numbers.  

UPDATE: Some hard numbers here from mlb.com.  They have last year’s payroll at $201 (technically it was if you don’t count the $5 million they paid to Giambi to decline his option) and they say the Yankees need to take $15 million off that.  That would put them at $186 for next year, right where Olney said. 

Scutaro to Pedroia to Youkilis

It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Someone named Ed Price, of Fanhouse.com (???) has been Twittering (Tweeting…or has Tweeted…Twittered…whatever) that the Red Sox and Marco Scutaro have agreed on a 2-year deal.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and Gordon Edes are reporting that Scutaro worked out for the Red Sox and are closing in on a 2-year deal.

So if we believe what we read, the Red Sox have solved their shortstop vacancy.  Is Scutaro a premier fit?  In a word, no.  He is coming off a career year at an old age, but can play an average shortstop and seems to have decent control of the strike zone.  That said, I fully expect the Red Sox to give Jed Lowrie as much opportunity as possible to win the job.

Scutaro’s 2009 employer was said to have been considering moving him to the outfield had he accepted arbitration.  That doesn’t speak volumes of their confidence in him as a defender, but perhaps it was just a rumor floated to force Scutaro out the door.  His leaving will garner the Jays the Red Sox first round pick and a supplemental pick in the 2010 amateur draft.

So with shortstop most likely filled, the Red Sox now need to sign a left fielder (or trade for one).  I still think this offense needs some additional giddy-up.  More to come I suspect.

Wagner a Brave, Maybe

Reports are circulating that Billy Wagner has agreed to a deal with the Atlanta Braves pending a physical.  Assuming he passed the physical, the Red Sox will get draft pick compensation for losing Wagner as they offered him arbitration yesterday.

I’m not sure why we get so interested in draft pick compensation.  Given how the current system works, you might be able to draft 1st round talent in the 10th round if a player is considered a "tough signing."  Obviously if there is an undisputed top pick, it is nice to have top picks in the draft, but it seems fairly easy to work around not having those top picks.

The Red Sox also offered Jason Bay arbitration yesterday.

Now that teams have a working knowledge of which free agents will and will not cost a draft pick, we should start to see more deals over the coming days heading into the Winter Meetings.

No Arbitration Offers

Joel Sherman tweets that the Yankees will not offer arbitration to anyone.  I think the decision not to offer it to Damon it fascinating. 

By offering arbitration to Damon the Yankees would have secured two draft picks if he had left New York.  Think that isn’t important?  When the Yankees offered arbitration to Tom Gordon and he went to Philadelphia, they got two picks.  Those picks became Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.  But, Damon could have accepted and then he probably would have gotten around $15 million in arbitration.   However, it would only be a one-year deal.  Furthermore, offering Damon arbitration would probably have made other teams more reluctant to sign him because they wouldn’t want to forfeit a top draft pick. 

Reading the Yankees’ tea leaves is always hard, but this leads me to two conclusions.  One- the Yankees would prefer to bring back Matsui, bum knees and all over Damon and two- the Yankees are exploring the left field trade market/ free agent market.  I have a feeling we will be waiting awhile to find out, but I think Mr. Damon will have a new address (In Queens perhaps?) next year.  

And The Other Guy Is….

Rory Sparrow.  Yup, the guard who played for the Knicks was one of eight athletes honored as Sportsman of The Year in 1987.  You can see the cover here