The Yankees have reportedly signed Travis Hafner, aka Pronk, to a major league deal. That means he will be on the 40-man and presumably make the roster as a lefty hitting DH. I get their thought process. Hafner hit .241/.361/.437 against RHP last year and in Yankee Stadium he could do some damage. However, I still don’t get the signing.

Let’s start with the obvious, this is an extremely fragile player. Since 2007, he has appeared in over 100 games once, in 2010. He will be 36, so he isn’t getting younger or better. And, he hasn’t played in the field since 2007. I wasn’t a fan of the Ibanez signing last year, but at least he could put a glove on. Hafner seems destined to be a DH and only a DH.

But the thing that really bothers me about this move is that the Yankees don’t seem to think there is anyone else in their system who can play this role. We keep hearing about getting under $189-million, well the best way to do that is with young and cheap players. For instance, Corban Joseph is a lefty-hitting second baseman who put up a line of .266/.366/.474 in 84 games at AAA last year, he is also only 23. Why not see what he can do with the bat in the big leagues? If they didn’t like that idea, Chris Dickerson was on the 40-man roster and could have provided defense and speed off the bench to go with his lefty bat. The Yankees just signed Dan Johnson to a minor league deal, he may not hit like Hafner, but he played both first and third in the minors last year so he would provide more flexibility.

But the Yankees did what they always do they turned to the veteran. It may work out well, but it doesn’t make them younger or cheaper and that is a missed opportunity in my mind.


More Fun With Alex

Just when you thought Alex Rodriguez couldn’t get more interesting, here’s a new PED story linking him and other athletes to an outfit in Miami. It was back in early 2009, ironically during his last hip surgery recovery, that A-Rod admitted to using steroids during a three-year period. The Yankees stood by Alex and supported him at his press conference where he supposedly came clean.

But, that was a different A-Rod.  That guy had won a MVP in 2007 and he hit .302/.392/.573 in 2008. The Yankees needed that player to be productive and their faith was rewarded with a championship in 2009 that would not have been won without Alex. Now, things are very, very different.

Let’s start with the obvious, this isn’t the same player. Rodriguez just had surgery on his other hip. He has not hit .300 since 2008 and his OPS has declined every year since 2007. He has hit 34 homers over the last two seasons and has appeared in only 221 games during that period. Couple that with his contract which has 5 years and $114-million left on it before incentives (we will get to those) and I think it is fair to say that the Yankees won’t be as supportive this time around if these allegations prove to be true.

And this is the where the biggest change from 2009 comes in, the quest to get a payroll below $189-million in 2014. I’ve detailed how hard it will be to accomplish, but if the Yankees somehow could subtract the $27.5 AAV of Alex’s contract, it becomes a lot easier to achieve. Now, I don’t see any way that is possible, but I do think the Yankees will have an argument to make against Alex’s contract incentives.

Alex gets $6-million each time he hits a milestone home run which are defined as home run #660, 714, 755, 762 and 763.  And those bonuses will count against the Yankees’ payroll when they are earned. So, with Alex out until July,  currently hitting a home run about once every 6.5 games and sitting at 647 career homers, there is a very real chance that he won’t hit #660 until 2014. And that would cost the Yankees an extra $6-million in payroll which could completely obliterate their quest to get under $189 million.

So, I expect the Yankees to attack those incentive clauses. A-Rod has already admitted to using PED’s from 2001-2003 when he hit 156 homers. The Yankees could use that and these latest allegations to try and invalidate his 660th homer, arguing that his real total would be less without the use of PED’s. I imagine the Yankees are thinking over their options very carefully right now.  And, at the very least, I imagine Hal has given Hank a huge wedgie, at least I hope he has.


We’re Back!

Welcome to the new We are really excited about the improvements we have made to the site. We hope you will enjoy them too.

For those of you interested, let me take you through the changes we have made-

We have changed from a Moveable Type to a WordPress blog. We did this for two reasons.

1- Moveable Type is not supported to the extent it was when we started using it in 2005. This has caused us all sorts of headaches from tremendous volumes of spam to wade through to a very bland site layout. WordPress fixes those two concerns.

2- Commenting will be much, much easier for you (no more Type Key) and you can now reply directly to a comment left on your comment. In addition, Andy and I, as authors of posts, will be notified when you leave a comment.

We would like to give a shout out to Cord Blomquist and his team at ReadyMadeWeb that held our hand throughout this process. Thanks to them we have a much more stable platform to operate on.

2013 marks the 10th anniversary of Andy and I have loved the first ten years and we are looking forward to the next 10. Thanks to all of you for your support, we wouldn’t keep doing this without you.