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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: Meanderings Of My Mind

About the Off-Season: Meanderings Of My Mind

By Tim Kabel

December 23, 2023

***

It is two days before Christmas. I will be scurrying from topic to topic as if someone put too much egg in my nog. 

 

  • The Yankees did not sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since he signed with the Dodgers, there have been a lot of very critical things said and written about the Yankees’ efforts to sign him. They were viewed as being outspent by both the Dodgers and the Mets, who made an identical offer to that of the Dodgers. Let's take a step back. I have been very critical of Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, particularly over the last year. However, I have also been fair, I think. It is true that both the Mets and Dodgers offered Yamamoto 325 million dollars while the Yankees offered 300 million dollars. What is missing is the length of the contract. The Mets and Dodgers offered 12-year contracts while the Yankees only offered 10 years. The actual annual value of the Yankees’ offer was higher than that of the Dodgers and the Mets. When you think about it, offering a 10-year contract at 30 million dollars a year to a 25-year-old who has never pitched in the Major Leagues is nothing to sneeze at. I think the Yankees can rightfully say they made a fair offer. Yamamoto took the longer contract. Who can blame him? On the other hand, who can blame the Yankees? 

 

  • The Yankees will now need to make other moves. I think they were already planning on bringing in other players but were waiting for the resolution of the Yamamoto situation. They will now need to address pitching further as well, since Yamamoto is off the table. 

 

  •  Look for the Yankees to sign one of the following three free agents: Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, or Shota Imanaga. Imanaga is viewed as the second-best option out of Japan after Yamamoto, although he does have many supporters. He is left-handed, but is older than Yamamoto, as he is 30. There has not been much interest reported regarding the Yankees and Snell. and Montgomery may not want to return to the Yankees. Imanaga may be the most likely option. He certainly will not be as expensive as Yamamoto and that would allow the Yankees to bring in another pitcher, such as Frankie Montas, to add depth to the rotation. 

 

  • There are trade options available in the starting pitching department such as Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease. However, the cost in prospects might be too much for the Yankees to burn, causing them to cease and desist in any trade efforts 

 

  • I suspect and hope that while the Yankees are exploring starting pitching options, they will make other moves such as signing Cody Bellinger and possibly a relief pitcher or two. 

 

  •  I read a few articles suggesting the Yankees sign Matt Chapman to play third base. I don't like this idea. Offensively, he reminds me of Josh Donaldson. I could imagine him signing a 5-year contract with the Yankees and fading a little more each year. They don't need to do that. 

 

  • The best options for the bullpen might be Josh Hader, Jordan Hicks, Robert Stephenson, and Yariel Rodriguez. The Yankees could conceivably sign one or two of them to make an extremely dominant bullpen. 

 

  • For the people who think the Yankees were not serious in their pursuit of Yamamoto, i would ask if a 300 million dollar offer over 10 years isn't serious, what is? 

 

  • I may be in the minority here, but I do not agree with the practice of deferring money on long-term contracts. In other words, if the Dodgers wanted to sign Shohei Ohtani for 700 million dollars, that's fine. However, he should receive $70 million a year over the length of the contract. There could be some leeway from year to year, but the entire value of the contract would need to be dispersed to Ohtani during the period of said contract. Paying him $2 million a year now and the rest at some point in the future is not fair in my opinion. It is the contractual equivalent of eating your cake and having it too. It would be like going into Morton's steakhouse and having an expensive meal but only paying $2 for it, with the promise to pay the rest later. See how that flies with Morton’s. 

 

  • If the Dodgers don't win the World Series after signing Yamamoto, Ohtani, and trading for Tyler Glasnow, they should be in for some heavy criticism. 

 

  • The Yankees lost out on Yamamoto. That does not mean it's the end of the world. If they do nothing else this off-season, that won't be very good and there will be little hope for them to make it to the World Series. If they add other significant pieces, then the fact that Yamamoto went to the Dodgers might not matter that much. 

 

  • I would not be surprised to see the Yankees make a move of some kind before Christmas, to send their fans the message that they are not finished and to relieve some of the sting of not signing Yamamoto. 

 

  •  I predict the Yankees next move will be to sign either Cody Bellinger or acquire a relief pitcher. Then, I think they will pivot back to the starting rotation in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. 

 

  • For those of you who celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve, have a wonderful time. I will be writing an article for Christmas Day, much like Bob Cratchit under the watchful eye of Dr. Ebenezer Semendinger. Happy Holidays 

47 Comments


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 23, 2023

"It would be like going into Morton's steakhouse and having an expensive meal but only paying $2 for it, with the promise to pay the rest later."


I can top that. If I go to Morton's and eat a giant steak and drink a bottle of wine, I will pay NOTHING for it, but only promise to pay later -- AND Morton's pays about 3% of the bill for the privilege of my doing that. It's called a "credit card," and after my monthly statement closes, I have something like 20-30 days to pay it off with zero additional amounts. If I don't, then I do have to pay more later (it's called "interest") -- just like the Dodgers …


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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 24, 2023
Replying to

One more thought: Remember the old U.S. Savings Bonds from when we were kids? You could buy what everyone called a $25 bond for, IIRC, $18.75 today, but you could cash it in for the $25 face amount after 10 years. This is (very loosely) the same concept. The $700 million is costing the Dodgers $460 million today, but just like no one called it an $18.75 bond in the '70s, instead referring to the face value, people today refer to the payout total on the Ohtani contract, not what it is worth in present value.

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jjw49
Dec 23, 2023

Deferring the payout is just smart business on Ohtani and his team. Dodgers still have to lay out the money every year in a deferred account without interest being accrued. If Ohtani retires after the 10 years he moves out of California and doesn't incur tax responsibilities for the balance. His circumstances are much different that 99.999% of baseball players so deferring the bulk of his earnings for 10years..... again very astute move on his part. MLB just learned a valuable lesson along with many fans!

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Dec 23, 2023
Replying to

"If Ohtani retires after the 10 years he moves out of California and doesn't incur tax responsibilities for the balance."


I'm not sure about that -- I'm not a tax lawyer, but I suspect California will take the position that he earned the money in California, and it doesn't matter where he lives when it's paid out.

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mikemarinelli54
Dec 23, 2023

Your points are well taken, Tim.

My 2 cents:


  • Some of the nuances of the offers are coming out. Apparently the Mets offered their deal first. No deferred $. They never had a chance to counter. They were used. The Yankees did not defer anything either. Offered 2 opt outs occurring a year earlier than the Dodgers including one before he turns 30. I think they saw the writing on the wall and stopped playing the game. The Dodgers matched the Mets but with a lot of deferred $. Again. There are 2 opt outs but after he turns 30. The deferred $ works against him if he chooses to opt out. However, it’s reported that he receives $50mm upfront…


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mikemarinelli54
Dec 23, 2023
Replying to

Checking back on MLB TR, Rosenthal is one of the sources.

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yankeesblog
Dec 23, 2023

To be honest i didn't have much of a reaction to the Yamomoto thing. Too many more imperative things happening in my life the past week. None of us really know what happened in the negotiations and we never will unless we can read Yamomoto's mind or tapped his and his agent's phones. If he really, really wanted to only sign with the Dodgers fine. In that case the Yankees never had a chance. But since they could not have known that (unless Yamamoto told them, which I really doubt) they should have done better than make the third best offer.


From scouting every one of Yamomoto's games to having a front office entourage show up for what turned out…


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mikemarinelli54
Dec 24, 2023
Replying to

Glad for that .

Merry Christmas!

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mikemarinelli54
Dec 23, 2023

Error. Apologies

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