News & Notes: Cole’s Number, Didi, Hader, Céspedes, MiLB Contraction

The Winter Meetings have come and gone but the news is here to stay. It’s obviously a bit quieter now than it was this week, but there are still plenty of Yankee-related rumors abound. Let’s get right to it on this gross, rainy Saturday in New York.

Cole Will Wear #45

I’m going to lead off with Gerrit Cole because it is still really freaking awesome that Gerrit Cole is on the Yankees. After the Yankees and Cole finalized the deal on Wednesday, Luke Voit tweeted that he’d give up his #45 for the new ace:

Today, thanks to Nancy Newman of the YES Network made it seem as if that’s been finalized. Check it out:

Yep, that’s about as clear as it gets. Cole will wear #45 next season. Hilariously, that also probably means that the Yankees will officially unveil their new Nike jerseys at the Gerrit Cole press conference, which will take place sometime next week. I wonder if that will stop the complaining online. Okay, who am I kidding? Definitely not. What else is social media for?

So Long, Didi Gregorius

You guys, I am very sad about Didi Gregorius. Very, very sad. I’ll have more to say about this in a dedicated post to Sir Didi later in the week, but it sucks that he’s gone. A true joy to root for. Anyway, the Phillies officially introduced him as one of their own yesterday, so now it’s real:

It sucks! I do not like it! Anyway, Gregorius said goodbye to fans yesterday with a message on Instagram:

And, this being Didi, also with a video that he almost certainly made himself:

View this post on Instagram

5seasons

A post shared by MJ Didi Gregorius (@sirdidig18) on

Check it out. Happy trails, Sir Didi. You will be missed.

Josh Hader Update

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are still engaged with the Brewers about Josh Hader, which is something we’ve already touched upon here. I speculated that it was originally Plan B to Cole’s Plan A, but perhaps not:

Hader has been one of the very best in the business for the last two years, and we all know how the Yankees feel about dominant back-end relievers, so, in that sense, this all aligns. I’d still be surprised–even if it won’t take Torres, Severino, and Luis Gil to get it done, as someone posted yesterday in what was the most Your Trade Proposal Sucks trade proposal of all time–if this happens, though.

One, I’m not sure why the Brewers would unload him and two, I’m not sure why the Yankees would surrender the pieces to do this now. They’d probably have to subtract from the team they already have–remember the Sean Doolittle trade for Washington?–and that seems silly. But I don’t know anything and this trade will probably happen now by the time I finish this post because that’s how this stuff goes.

Dellin Betances Update

I haven’t been as upset about a free agent leaving New York as I am about Didi Gregorius since at least Robinson Canó way back when. That might change as soon as today if the Yankees let Dellin Betances walk, though. Betances is one of my all-time favorite Yanks–as was Didi, to be fair–and he’s been so, so good in pinstripes. It will seriously hurt, possibly even more than Didi does, to see him go.

Anyway, the Dodgers are still engaged with Betances, according to MLBTR, and we really haven’t heard all that much about his engagement with the Yankees. I do not like it. If I were the Yankees, I would simply sign the best reliever in baseball from 2014-18 to a contract, but what do I know?

Yoenis Céspedes and Jacoby Ellsbury

We found out yesterday that Yoenis Céspedes and the Mets restructured his deal in a move that will save the Mets a significant amount of money. Joel Sherman was first to report it and also has all the details:

Now, I saw a lot of griping about the MLB Player’s Association yesterday, which makes sense because they’ve had a rough go of things recently. But this is not that. As Friend of the Blog™ Jarrett Seidler said on Twitter yesterday:

It sucks for him but it is true. Jarrett hit the nail on the head here. Anyway, this is all relevant to the Yankees because they’re essentially doing the same thing to Ellsbury that the Mets did to Céspedes, just under different individual circumstances. The Mets didn’t pay Yoenis this year just as the Yankees won’t pay Ellsbury.

We still don’t know a lot about the Ellsbury situation–surprise!–so it’s really hard to have a concrete opinion here yet. If the Yankees’ case is equally credible, and it might be, this might be the inevitable outcome of that situation, too. That would have CBT impact–depending on when it is resolved, it would be for 2020 or 2021–and would finally mark the end of the Ellsbury saga. We will keep you posted on that front as things develop, but this is a useful precedent. (So too was the Aaron Boone situation from 2004, but that was a lot more cut-and-dry, mostly because Boone made it that way by being so honest.)

MiLB Contraction

Finally, Major League baseball is At It Again. The latest in the fight with the Minor Leagues is that Rob Manfred and MLB are threatening to walk away from MiLB entirely. Craig Calcaterra had the scoop here, and here is the important bit:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

MLB Statement

This was a fairly predictable move honestly–the way the MiLB is currently structured does not match up with the development structure of MLB at the moment–but it is still newsworthy. The negotiations are now pretty harsh, as one can imagine. MiLB itself released a pretty vicious, point-by-point refutation of many of MLB’s talking points last night:

The memo is included down that thread, so check it out. As for me, I am very much in Camp Minor Leagues. The current MiLB structure is extremely popular, drawing more than 40 million fans a year, and is often the only way that many, many folks across the country can see live professional baseball. It is good for the growth of the game and it develops connections between fans and the MLB stars of tomorrow. That’s the point of all of this, you know. But anyway, more on this as it develops. It will probably get even uglier before it resolves itself, and, as usual, I don’t think MLB is doing itself very many favors here. We’ll see.

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1 Comment

  1. RetroRob

    A quick look at some Ellsbury numbers in light of the Mets succeeding in restructuring the Céspedes deal.

    Unless the Yankees succeed in having Ellsbury’s final season (and buyout) completely eliminated, they’re not going to buy a dramatic reduction in Ellsbury’s AAV and its related luxury tax impact, at least as I understand it. I certainly could be off here.

    With that, a couple of scenarios on a rainy Saturday:

    1) The Best One for the Yankees: Ellsbury’s final year and buyout are eliminated, and the Yankees luxury tax payroll hit is reduced by $21,857,142, the AAV of Ells’ deal. Go sign Dellin!

    2) A negotiated settlement: This is one where the savings are less inspiring from an luxury tax perspective, but could be more inspiring from an actual dollars perspective. We can only guess at this, but let’s say for illustrative purposes the two sides agree to reduce Ellsbury’s final salary by $15M ($10M in salary and dropping the $5M buyout). It’s still a seven year contract, but the AAV is reduced to $19,714,285 for an AAV savings of $2,142,857 in 2020. That’s not going to buy much, but it’s still savings and the Yankees may be counting every million as they try to get under the punishing $248M third luxury tax tier. Unknown here: Will that $2,142,857 annual savings be applied retroactively to all the years the Yankees were over the luxury tax threshold? I would think so, but I don’t know what’s in the CBA. If so, the Yankees motivation is even greater as I believe they were over in five of the six years of Ells’ deal, often paying the highest (50%) penalty.

    Scenario one, btw, should reduce Ellsbury’s AAV by the Ruthian-lookng number of $714,000. That would have no impact on 2020 as the contract will be done, but similar to scenario two, would it allow the Yankees to go back and recalculate the deal’s AAV for the prior six years?

    Finally, the Yankees may be threatening to claw back the salary they paid him in 2019 in the hopes that forces a settlement on 2020. I still don’t think this is going to work, yet none of us know the actual details. The Céspedes news indicates that something could happen.

    I ran these numbers quickly, so I could be wrong. I know there’s an accountant on the writing staff. Perhaps worth a deeper dive at some point.

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