The Next Two Years

The next two years are critical, and I think it’s the reason you see news like this:

Lilly, Cubs agree to four-year, $40 million contract

What do I mean? I mean the Yankees were in the running for Ted Lilly, and he wanted to come there. I even saw rumors that the Yanks had made a similar offer. In the past, the Yanks would have upped the offer slightly, gone to 4/44 and signed him. Not now. Because the Yanks don’t want to be on the hook for 4/44 anymore. I bet they much preferred to get Pettitte (and Lilly was insurance in case Pettite retired) for one or two years. Two. Two is the max. Once Pettitte decided he was going to pitch next year, I bet the Yanks stopped pursuing Lilly, and are now focused on Pettitte. My bet is they sign him for 2 years at something like 13 per.

Why two years? Why am I so focused on this “magic” number? Because in two years, the dead weight that is Jason Giambi and his enourmously backloaded contract (he’s at $21m per, now)comes off the books. That’s when Carl Pavano’s contract is done. That’s when Mike Mussina’s new contract is done. Kyle Farnsworth, too. And, Abreu and Johnson will be done in ’07.

What that means is the Yankees have some payroll and roster flexibility on the horizon, and I bet Cashman doesn’t want to blow it. I bet this offseason and next, the Yankees are cautious shoppers, not blowing the bank on long, backloaded contracts and major free-agent signings. (Even Richie Sexson, who the Yanks are rumored to covet at first base…wow, that would be much better than Craig Wilson…is only signed for the next two years.)

Hey, just my theory. I might get proven wrong if they go and blow it (ed. note: like on Barry Zito). But that’s just what I think.

The question is then what do they plan on doing with that “Cap Space” sotospeak? I don’t know what the FA class after the 2008 season (though the 2007 class looks strong: Vernon Wells and Carlos Zambrano are my faves) will look like, but there is one potential Big Fish already being talked about: Johan Santana.

Now that’s someone I would save my money for.

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8 responses to “The Next Two Years

  1. I know a lot of Knick fans (well, not personally, but you know what I mean) that would love to see their team take up that type of strategy…

  2. I wouldn’t call Jason Giambi “dead weight.” He was arguably the best hitter on the Yankees this year.

  3. I love how the Yankees don’t learn. Let’s go after another over-the-hill SP, hope our hitting carries us, and act surprised when it doesn’t. It’s okay – we’ll blame it on ARod.

  4. Nephtuli – His contract is an albatross, and he didn’t hit like a $21m player, especially considering that he’s a liability in the field, and takes away significant lineup and roster flexibility.

    Ezzie – I think your criticism is misplaced. They do learn. Getting 1 year of Pettitte at $13-$15 mil is a much better move than locking into Lilly for four years. If they did that, three years from now, we’d be talking about having Lilly’s overblown contract on the roster (especially considering the injury risk).

    My point is that without publicly admitting it, the Yankees are rebuilding. They are weathering the impact of the back-loaded bloated contracts they have and are trying not to get involved with any more. That’s why they are balking at long-term deals that aren’t worth it.

    I’d bet that 4 years from now, neither Ted Lilly or Barry Zito will be worth the money they are commanding now.

    And I wouldn’t call Andy Pettitte a “washed up starting pitcher” either. He’s 34, had a strong second half and immediately would make the Yankees better (with a proven NY and playoff record).

  5. Nephtuli – His contract is an albatross, and he didn’t hit like a $21m player, especially considering that he’s a liability in the field, and takes away significant lineup and roster flexibility.

    Well probably no one is worth 21 million, but if he was on the market right now, how much would you give him for two years? He’s a better hitter than Soriano and probably even Carlos Lee.

    And his defense isn’t that big a deal. It’s first base. He’s no worse than Ryan Howard or Delgado.

    I love how the Yankees don’t learn. Let’s go after another over-the-hill SP, hope our hitting carries us, and act surprised when it doesn’t. It’s okay – we’ll blame it on ARod.

    Pettite isn’t over the hill. A 3 year deal for him would be fine. Gives them time to get Hughes and Sanchez (the prospect they got for Sheffield) ready for the majors.

  6. I agree, generally, except that his defense is bad enough that the Yankees have no intention of playing him at 1B.

  7. I agree, generally, except that his defense is bad enough that the Yankees have no intention of playing him at 1B.

    BTW, Sexson would be a very good signing. Imagine the lineup….

  8. Pingback: The Noy G Show

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