Posts Tagged ‘Jeter’

Last night was the deadline for major league teams to offer salary arbitration to their ranked (type-A and type-B) free agents, and a surprising 35 of the 64 eligible players were extended the invitation. The most active teams were the Rays and Blue Jays, who respectively offered seven and four players arbitration. With draft picks at stake for those free agents who sign elsewhere, and inflated annual salaries awaiting those who remain, you can bet that most teams will be sitting on pins and needles over the next week as the players decide whether to accept or reject the offer. The Yankees won’t have to endure any suspense, however, because their lone offer was made to Javier Vazquez, who has already agreed to decline the invitation.

The Yankees have been involved in 21 cases since the first arbitration hearings were held after the 1973 season. Over the last decade, however, the team has been much more reticent to engage in the process. Since beating Mariano Rivera in 2000, the Yankees have gone to a hearing with only one other player: Chien Ming Wang in 2008.

All-Time Arbitration History, By Team

Team Won Lost Total Win %
Rays 5 0 5 100%
Phillies 7 1 8 88%
Orioles 11 3 14 79%
Red Sox 12 5 17 71%
Dodgers 14 6 20 70%
Nats/Expos 22 10 32 69%
Cubs 4 2 6 67%
Rockies 2 1 3 67%
White Sox 14 8 22 64%
Braves 15 9 24 63%
Blue Jays 5 3 8 63%
Angels 15 10 25 60%
Cardinals 9 6 15 60%
Reds 18 13 31 58%
Yankees 12 9 21 57%
Astros 8 6 14 57%
Mets 11 9 20 55%
Twins 15 13 28 54%
Indians 7 6 13 54%
Padres 10 9 19 53%
Mariners 10 9 19 53%
Rangers 10 9 19 53%
Pirates 9 9 18 50%
Brewers 2 2 4 50%
Diamondbacks 1 1 2 50%
Athletics 17 18 35 49%
Royals 9 10 19 47%
Marlins 3 5 8 38%
Giants 2 4 6 33%
Tigers 6 14 20 30%

Source: bizofbaseball.com

The Yankees rank in the middle of the pack in terms of both the number of cases heard as well as winning arguments made. However, the team has had several high profile cases that were particularly noteworthy, particularly for the reaction they elicited from owner George M. Steinbrenner III.

In 1980, Rick Cerone had a breakthrough season in his first year with the Yankees. After finishing seventh in the MVP voting, the veteran catcher asked for a raise that would more than quadruple his salary to $440,000. The Yankees countered with a more modest increase to $350,000, but the arbitrator sided with Cerone. Following the decision, Steinbrenner lambasted Cerone for being disloyal, but the embattled catcher defended his victory by saying he was more than willing to compromise at the midpoint. At the time, Cerone’s award was the second highest in the process’ history, trailing only the $700,000 salary won by Bruce Sutter in his 1980 hearing with the Cubs.

I don’t enjoy a young guy off one good year who was plucked out of Toronto showing so little regard for me. It’s not what I am looking for in my kind of guy. I don’t think Tommy John would do that, or Reggie Jackson or Lou Piniella.” – George M. Steinbrenner III, quoted by the New York Times News Service, February 16, 1981

In 1987, Don Mattingly, who was coming off one the best seasons of his career, asked for a record salary of $1,975,000, which not only turned out to be the largest arbitration award to that point, but also the highest salary ever paid by the Yankees. Once again, the Boss was not happy about making history.

The monkey is clearly on his back…I’ll expect him to carry us to a World Series championship…He’s like all the rest of them now. He can’t play little Jack Armstrong of Evansville, Indiana. He goes into the category of modern-player-with-agent looking for the bucks. Money means everything to him”. – George M. Steinbrenner III, quoted by the New York Times News Service, February 18, 1987

The organization wasn’t the only side to come away from the arbitration process with a sour taste. Before throwing a pitch for the Yankees, Jim Abbott, who was acquired before the 1993 season, first had to do battle with his future employer in the hearing room. Despite having a 2.77 ERA with the Angels in 1992, Abbott was coming off a 7-15 record, which in a less enlightened time probably made his request to double his salary seem a little obscene. After Abbott lost his hearing, Murray Chass of the New York Times wrote that the left hander “wasn’t pleased about the decision”, which only compounded his less than enthusiastic reaction to being traded to the Yankees in the first place.

In 1996, the displeasure was back on the Yankees side when Bernie Williams won a whopping 650% raise from the team. The Yankees had been hoping to negotiate a long-term deal instead, but with Williams and his agent Scott Boras already looking ahead to free agency, the team had little choice but to take things one year at a time.

Continuing a trend, the Yankees also had difficultly inking their other young core players to long-term deals. In 1999, the team lost arbitration hearings to both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and then the following season took their closer to the table once again. The Yankees prevailed over Rivera the second time, but still wound up handing out the largest arbitration-derived salary in team history.

The most interesting element of the 2000 hearing with Rivera was the arguments made on both sides. Rivera’s camp suggested that the closer was at least as valuable as Jeter, who had signed a $10 million deal earlier in the winter. The Yankees, however, countered by suggesting that Rivera added less to the bottom line, citing the fewer number of internet hits and derivative revenue that he generated compared to Jeter.

The Yankees offered a compelling argument to support that claim, noting that from 1997-99, Jeter merchandise sales at Yankee Stadium totaled $2,280,000, compared with $57,000 for Rivera. Over the same three-year period, Jeter received 727,196 hits on the team’s Web site, compared with 68,974 for Rivera.” – Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News Sportswriter, February 19, 2000

I wonder what Casey Close (Jeter’s agent) thinks about that argument now?

Complete History of Yankees’ Arbitration Cases, 1974-Present

Year Player Ask Offer $ Increase % Increase
1974 Wayne Granger* $46,000 $42,000 -$1,500 -3.2%
1974 Gene Michael $65,500 $55,000 $0 0.0%
1974 Duke Sims $56,000 $50,000 $0 0.0%
1974 Bill Sudakis* $30,000 $25,000 $10,000 50.0%
1981 Rick Cerone* $440,000 $350,000 $340,000 340.0%
1982 Bobby Brown $175,000 $90,000 $10,000 12.5%
1982 Ron Davis $575,000 $300,000 $100,000 50.0%
1982 Dave Revering $325,000 $250,000 NA  NA
1987 Don Mattingly* $1,975,000 $1,700,000 $600,000 43.6%
1988 Mike Pagliarulo $625,000 $500,000 $450,000 257.1%
1993 Jim Abbott $3,500,000 $2,350,000 $500,000 27.0%
1993 John Habyan $830,000 $600,000 $100,000 20.0%
1993 Randy Velarde* $1,050,000 $600,000 $690,000 191.7%
1994 Pat Kelly* $810,000 $575,000 $650,000 406.3%
1994 Kevin Maas $490,000 $425,000 $170,000 66.7%
1994 Terry Mulholland $4,050,000 $3,350,000 $700,000 26.4%
1996 Bernie Williams* $3,000,000 $2,555,000 $2,600,000 650.0%
1999 Derek Jeter* $5,000,000 $3,200,000 $4,250,000 566.7%
1999 Mariano Rivera* $4,250,000 $3,000,000 $3,500,000 466.7%
2000 Mariano Rivera $9,250,000 $7,250,000 $3,000,000 70.6%
2008 Chien Ming Wang $4,600,000 $4,000,000 $3,510,500 717.2%

*Denotes player won the arbitration hearing.
Source: bizofbaseball.com and baseball-reference.com

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Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter earned their third and fifth Gold Glove, respectively.

The 2010 American League Gold Glove awards were announced today and a record three Yankees took home the hardware. Although not the trophy they were hoping to possess, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter both added another Gold Glove to their mantle, while Robinson Cano earned the honor for the first time. Although the selection of Cano and Teixeira were both widely accepted, the choice of Jeter was predictably met with derision in many quarters.  That discussion has already been dissected by many others, so let’s push it aside and focus instead on the historic nature of the Yankees’ gold rush.

Since the gold glove award was created in 1957 (that first year, one selection was made for the entire major leagues), the Yankees have had three selections only two other times: in 1985, when Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Ron Guidry were honored, and in 1965, when Joe Pepitone, Bobby Richardson and Tom Tresh won the award. This year, however, marked the first time that three Yankee infielders took home the gold. The only other American League clubs to also have three infielders win the award were the 2000 Indians (Roberto Alomar, Travis Fryman and Omar Vizquel) as well as five Orioles’ teans from 1969 to 1975 (Mark Belanger and Brooks Robinson along side Davey Johnson for two and Bobby Grich for three).

Most Gold Gloves All Time, American League

Team Total Leaders
Yankees 62 Don Mattingly (9), Several (5)
Orioles 58 Brooks Robinson (16), Mark Belanger (8), Paul Blair (8)
Tigers 42 Al Kaline (10), Bill Freehan (7), Alan Trammell (4)
Twins/Senators 41 Jim Kaat (11), Kirby Puckett (6), Torii Hunter (6)
Mariners 38 Ichiro (10), Ken Griffey Jr. (10), Several (3)
Red Sox 36 Dwight Evans (8), Carl Yastrzemski (7), Fred Lynn (4)
White Sox 35 Robin Ventura (5), Jim Landis (5), Nellie Fox (5)
Rangers 33 Ivan Rodriguez (13), Jim Sundberg (6), Buddy Bell (6)
Angels 31 Mark Langston (5), Bob Boone (4), Several (3)
Indians 29 Omar Vizquel (8), Kenny Lofton (4), Several (3)
Blue Jays 25 Roberto Alomar (5), Devon White (5), T. Fernandez (4)
Athletics 19 Eric Chavez (6), Dwayne Murphy (6), Joe Rudi (3)
Royals 18 Frank White (8), Amos Otis (3), Several (1)
Brewers 9 George Scott (5), Cecil Cooper (2), Several (1)
Other* 3 Vic Power (2), Kim Kaat (1)
Rays 4 Evan Longoria (2), Carlos Pena (1), Carl Crawford (1)

* Vic Power won the award in 1958 while splitting time with the Athletics and Indians, and in 1964 while splitting time with the Twins and Angels. In 1973, Jim Kaat won the award while splitting time with the Twins and White Sox.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Don Mattingly's nine Gold Gloves are the most ever by a Yankee.

With their three honorees, the Yankees also extended their American League leading gold glove total to 62, four ahead of the second place Orioles. Although the Yankees hold the top spot overall, they only lead in total awards at two positions (pitcher and first base), while the Orioles rank ahead in three (2B, SS and 3B). The other positions are led by the Rangers (16 at catcher) and Mariners (24 in the outfield).

Most Gold Gloves All Time, American League (by Position)

Team P   Team C   Team 1B   Team 3B
Yankees 12   Rangers 16   Yankees 15   Orioles 16
Twins 12   Tigers 11   Brewers 7   Athletics 6
Orioles 8   Angels 6   Orioles 5   Rangers 6
Angels 5   Yankees 5   Red Sox 4   Yankees 5
White Sox 4   Twins 5   Angels 4   White Sox 5
Team 2B   Team SS   Team OF      
Orioles 9   Orioles 11   Mariners 24      
Royals 9   White Sox 9   Red Sox 22      
Yankees 6   Indians 8   Tigers 16      
Blue Jays 6   Yankees 5   Yankees 14      
Tigers 6   Blue Jays 5   Blue Jays 13      
Mariners 6   Tigers 5   Twins 13      

Source: Baseball-reference.com

On a personal level, by winning his fifth gold glove, Jeter joins only Guidry, Winfield, Mattingly and Bobby Richardson as Yankees with at least that many awards. With the exception of Mattingly, who has nine, all of the others are tied at five. Jeter also remains the only Yankees shortstop to win gold, while Cano joins Richardson and Teixeira remains in the company of Mattingly, Chris Chambliss and Pepitone at first base

All-Time Yankee Gold Glovers, by Position

Player C   Player 2B   Player 1B   Player OF
Munson 3   Richardson 1   Mattingly 9   Winfield 5
Howard 2   Cano 1   Pepitone 3   B. Williams 4
            Teixeira 2   Murcer 1
Player P   Player 3B   Chambliss 1   Tresh 1
Guidry 5   Nettles 2         Mantle 1
Shantz 4   Boggs 2   Player SS   Maris 1
Mussina 3   Brosius 1   Jeter 5   Seibern 1

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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As the Core Four’s careers wind down, can the Yankees keep a smile on their faces?

Earlier in the week, we suggested that Joe Girardi’s legacy as Yankee manager would depend on how he shepherds the Yankees’ core of aging veterans through the twilight of their respective careers. Making the task even more challenging for Girardi is that he played alongside these legends during the primes of their careers. As a result, you couldn’t blame the Yankees skipper if he allows sentimentality to play at least a small role in how he handles this precarious issue.

Although Girardi has been very diplomatic on the subject, Brian Cashman has not. According to recent comments, it seems that if the Yankees’ general manager has his way, sentimentality will have no impact on how the team treats its veteran stars.

We’re not going to be interested in retaining players because of future milestones. The stars don’t put fannies in the seats. Wins do. If it’s a bad team, people will stop showing up by July. They’ll go to the beach.” – Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, quoted in the New York Times, October 29, 2010

Rob Neyer called Cashman “his hero” for the above statement, but as a lifelong Yankee fan, I find it somewhat disturbing, especially because it can’t be dismissed as tough talk. We’ve already seen this sentiment put into action with how the team handled the end of Bernie Williams’ career. Following the 2006 season, Joe Torre still seemed inclined to have the popular centerfielder play a role on the team, but Cashman refused to relent and only offered Williams a non guaranteed invitation to Spring Training.

Yeah, it would be tough for me if you had to say goodbye. I sense he feels confident that he can still play this game. It’s tough for him to feel wanted if it means getting spot on the 40-man roster at this point in time because there’s no room.” – Joe Torre, quoted by AP, February 18, 2007

In other words, Bernie Williams never really retired. The Yankees effectively ended his career.

At the time, most Yankees’ fans seemed fine with the decision because Williams’ talents had obviously declined. I, however, was not. Although winning is clearly the number one mission statement, the Yankees should be about more than just one bottom line. George Steinbrenner was famously quoted as saying the only thing he cared about more than winning was breathing, but under the Boss, the Yankees’ organization placed great emphasis on promoting a family culture. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee so to speak. Much was made of Steinbrenner’s itchy trigger finger, but the truth of the matter was being fired or released from the Yankees just meant a reunion would soon be in the planning.

Make no mistake about it. Before Steinbrenner took over, the Yankees reputation had always been as a very bottom line organization. Even Babe Ruth was jettisoned when he no longer was the Sultan of Swat. And, to be sure, that philosophy probably played a role in the franchise’s perennial success. Having said that, the Yankees shouldn’t have to choose between winning and placating their veteran stars. After all, the team’s history is defined by more than just wins and losses, but also the men who make them possible.

The decline of legends like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera (well, maybe not Mo) is inevitable, and at some point, the Yankees will have to move on. However, they don’t need to do it in such a cutthroat way. In the case of Bernie, there was no reason for not giving him a guaranteed deal. Even if the money was a concern, would the Yankees really have been worse off with Williams taking the roster spot of guys like Andy Phillips, Josh Phelps and Kevin Thompson? Luckily, Bernie’s relationship with the Yankees remains strong, but it would have been a shame had the result of the team’s decision been estrangement from one of its homegrown stars.

Do we really follow sports only to watch a winner? If so, why not jump from bandwagon to bandwagon? Although many casual fans do take that approach, the diehard’s attachment to a team stems more from its history than its prospects for future success. Because of their financial advantage, the Yankees can have their cake and eat it too. As a result, the team shouldn’t feel the need to abide by Branch Rickey’s famous advice about trading “a player a year too early rather than a year too late” when handling its Hall of Fame core. The Yankees can still win while catering to their stars. The end doesn’t always justify the means, and in this case, the cost of winning in the future doesn’t have to involve turning away from history.

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