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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: A Bold Gesture by Playing the Numbers Game

About the Off-Season: A Bold Gesture by Playing the Numbers Game

By Tim Kabel

November 30, 2023

***

We have all seen countless examples of men, usually young ones, proposing to their girlfriends at sporting events, concerts, or other public venues. These grand gestures usually garner a great deal of attention. They are frequently captured on video tape or film or on the scoreboard. Usually, the young lady accepts the proposal, and the event is greeted with great applause and celebration. It is considered a triumph for the fellow who proposed. However, every now and then, the young woman has a different agenda and refuses the proposal. This is unpleasant on many levels for the gentleman involved. First, his plan for the future has been shattered. He needs to reevaluate everything and come up with a new plan. He also has to figure out how he misjudged the situation so badly. He is hurt, rejected, and embarrassed. Those feelings are compounded by the fact that the entire disaster is witnessed by everyone at the event, and countless others who will see the incident replayed multiple times, simply to increase the poor fellow's humiliation. People will point, children will laugh, some may even throw popcorn. He will be heckled and ridiculed by friends, loved ones, and total strangers until something else happens to catch their attention.


The Yankees reportedly made such a gesture recently. No, they did not propose marriage. Rather, they made a decision to not issue uniform number 18, which is the preferred number of Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The ace of the pitching staff in Japan traditionally wears number 18. When Hiroki Kuroda played for the Yankees, he wore number 18. Masahiro Tanaka came to the Yankees during that time and graciously accepted number 19 in deference to Kuroda. The last Yankee to wear number 18 was Andrew Benintendi. No deference is required for him.


If it is true that the Yankees held number 18 for Yamamoto, and there is no reason to believe that it isn't, it shows a great deal of confidence by Brian Cashman and the Yankees. It demonstrates they are truly committed to signing Yamamoto and believe very strongly that they will do so. It is not the sort of "dipping the toe in the water" behavior we have seen from them lately when it comes to star players. It is more than "due diligence". As a Yankees' fan, you have to like this news. However, there is a but coming.


It's very nice that the Yankees made this gesture toward Yamamoto but, now they need to actually sign him. They put themselves out there in a somewhat vulnerable position. Now, they need to reel him in. Imagine what will happen if they don't.


If the Yankees do not sign Yamamoto, they will look foolish. They will be subjected to ridicule and scorn by their fan base, the media, and other MLB teams. It will be used as further evidence to prove that Brian Cashman has lost his way and is no longer capable of running this team effectively. People will make jokes at his and the Yankees' expense. It could also affect their negotiations with other players, as the agents for those players will know the Yankees need to save face and might be willing to overpay to do so.


Although in the grand scheme of things, this is not a major gesture, it is important to Yamamoto. If it hadn't been, the Yankees would not have done it. Now, they had better be very sure they can sign him. If he goes to the Mets, where number 18 is not available, as it will be retired for Darryl Strawberry, the Yankees will look silly on many levels. It will be perceived that they overemphasized the importance of the uniform number and that they could not follow through on signing the player they wanted. The Mets will be viewed as having the upper hand in the city and will steal a lot of the Yankees' thunder. That may happen anyway if the Mets sign Yamamoto but without the entire story about the Yankees reserving number 18, it would be on a smaller scale.


Brian Cashman is on the scoreboard camera. He is down on one knee. He is asking Yoshinobu Yamamoto to join the Yankees. He's proposing a contract to him. We are all watching. Cashman better get this right or It will be a long cold winter for him, the Yankees, and their fans.

16 Comments


jjw49
Nov 30, 2023

This is nothing more than a PR move that will not move the needle in signing Yamamoto!

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Nov 30, 2023

If they turn around and give 18 to Bellinger or Soto (though I'm guessing they'd take 24 and 22, respectively) or even Carlos Navaez, I'm betting the slight will be quickly forgotten.


Now, if only No. 17 could become available . . . (not that I want Ohtani; I just want 17 available).

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fuster
Dec 01, 2023
Replying to

Ohtani sells merchandise


Ohtani attracts advertisers


aside from that, Ohtani delivers WAR and will continue to do so for nearly a decade.


pay the two dollars

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autmorsautlibertas
Nov 30, 2023

New York already has strike one as a good place to play since the State of New York will take 10% in the form of a state income tax. If the Yankees offer a 100 million dollar contract to a player, after State tax, the player takes home 90 Million (before federal tax). In Texas and Florida, with no state income taxes, the player takes home 100 million (before federal tax). The cost of living in New York is also a deterrent.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Nov 30, 2023
Replying to

Well, if the Mets are the other suitors, that's a wash. Moreover, the difference in take-home (after 15% to my agent and 37% to the IRS) would be about $53.5 million vs. about $45.0 million. I think I could live very comfortably in NYC on $45 million ($9 million a year for five years?), and have plenty left over for the rest of my life. Indeed, it'd be well worth the $8.5 million difference not to have to live in a hellhole like Texas or Florida (not that I see the Rays or Marlins offering that kind of money in the first place).

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fuster
Nov 30, 2023

it is a small gesture that shows respect for Yamamoto


should they make an offer and not have the offer accepted, they might appear to have been foolish in some quarters, but having a particular uniform number available is not quite the same as spending three months wages on an engagement ring for a love object to whom you're offering a lifetime of devotion..


an offer of an employment contract is a more limited affair, however heartfelt the offer.


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Alan B.
Alan B.
Nov 30, 2023

Brian Cashman lost his fastball long ago. He was able to sign CC by himself. By the time Cole came around 11 years later, he need a tribe to help him. 3 years later he needed Hal to step in and re-sign Judge. Big trade? Gray was an unmitigated disaster in 2017. Outside of Severino in 2015, name a top prospect who was brought up, instead of making the big trade? Why did Cashman lie about Peraza when he claimed he acquired IKF to be the stopgap at short until one of the prospects were ready, and Peraza did everything Cashman wanted a prospect to do. Cashman not signing Yamamoto or not trading for Soto, I know is not com…

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autmorsautlibertas
Nov 30, 2023
Replying to

Nothing was cut and pasted.

I was not unaware that other states have income taxes. I know that players can establish permanent residences out of state for tax purposes, but taxing half the games played is still a lot of money. New York taxes the entire salary, then gives the players credit for taxes paid in other states.

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