Why The Stanton to Yankees Jeter Conspiracy Doesn’t Make Sense

Image result for giancarlo stanton derek jeter

About ten years ago, Minnesota Timberwolves Vice President and former Boston Celtic great Kevin McHale, gifted Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics.

Back then there was some noise about it, but social media being what it is now and the New York Yankees being involved this time and being “the evil empire” and all, this Giancarlo Stanton trade is drumming up a lot of conspiracy talk.

Yes, Derek Jeter, part owner of the Miami Marlins, is a Yankee icon who just traded the 2017 NL MVP to his former team.   And many think there is something fishy about that.  (Sorry, I had to.)

Sorry to inject some reasoning and get in the way of a good conspiracy but let’s look at some of the factors that existed prior to and brought about this trade…

  • The Miami Marlins were financially challenged before and after Jeter’s ownership group took over the team.
  • The Marlins have had two “fire sales” prior to Jeter’s arrival and it was considered a possibility there would be a third regardless of who the new owner was.
  • Stanton has a monster contract and was likely to be traded under this scenario.
  • Are conspiracy theorists suggesting that for years the Marlins were intentionally losing money, had two fire sales so they could sell the team and set up a third and not look suspicious?  I didn’t think so.

However, Miami homer, The Dan Le Batard show tweeted:

This sounds asinine.  MLB didn’t plan for the Marlins fiscal woes or for Jeter coming in with a competitive group to buy.  Jeter may not be Michael Jordan, but to many, he was the face of baseball for a long time. MLB saw the opportunity to place the face of the game, and a minority, into ownership, that is a good thing.  It doesn’t mean he’ll do a good job, but it explains why they would want him.

Questions and Speculation:

  1. Did the Yankees or Jeter give Stanton a no trade clause in his contract?
  2. Didn’t Derek Jeter complete deals in principal with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants? Was this a ruse?  Were the Cardinals and Giants in on “the conspiracy” or were they patsies?
  3. Did the Yankees or Jeter determine which teams would be on Stanton’s approved list?
  4. Were the Los Angeles Dodgers Stanton’s first choice?  and did the Yankees or Jeter know what offer LA would or would not make?
  5. Was Stanton lying about LA being his dream team to play for having grown up in Los Angeles, and being a Dodger fan just to throw us off the track and conspire to join the Yankees?
  6. Was Derek Jeter’s last contract with the Yankees contentious?… Yes it was.
  7. Was there a reported frost between Jeter, and Yankee GM Brian Cashman, who told Jeter to shop the Yankee offer and take it or leave it?  Apparently so.
  8. Even after making over 200 million from the Yankees Jeter was looking to get every last dime on his last contract.
  9. Is Jeter one of the most competitive athletes to play in any sport?
  10. Is Jeter likely to take a lesser deal from the Yankees both in terms of talent and money saved, which his franchise is desperate for?
  11. Do you think Jeter wants to succeed as an owner?
  12. Would he intentionally take a lesser deal from the Yankees and Cashman, then he could get elsewhere?
  13. Have the Yankees been setting themselves up for years to reset the penalty fees they pay, in part to sign Bryce Harper at the end of 2018?  Okay I can understand some skepticism on this one.  But if the Yankees weren’t serious about this, then why did they trade for Sonny Gray this past season at the trade deadline and not Justin Verlander or Yu Darvish?  Why not both?
  14. Image result for giancarlo stantonDid the Yankees have a need for, and could Jeter have anticipated, Yankee interest in Stanton?  Nope.  Not with Judge and their loaded farm system, and their need for starting pitching.

Is this a bad deal for Marlin fans? You bet.  It sucks.  And while this deal fell into the Yankees lap (ergo not planned, not a conspiracy), and looks great today, it may bite them, (especially if this deal comes at the expense of shoring up their pitching) like many long-term big money contracts have.

I’ve been against these long-term deals for a while.  I was fine with Yanks not matching Seattle and letting Robinson Cano walk. And wrote this in 2011 about why St. Louis should not resign Albert Pujols, and how most long-term deals don’t work out.

I’m sure talk radio, the twitter mob, and usual suspects who like to hate on the Yankees will gin up the conspiracy talk, but when considering the above, it just doesn’t add up.

By all means continue to hate and or root against the evil empire if you will, just not over a conspiracy theory that isn’t.

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Jorge Posada Should Be Forgiven and Yes Derek Jeter is Iconic, but —

The NY Yankees’ Management Needs to Take a Page from the Boston Red Sox

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 18th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

For years now I’ve been reading about the impending problems the New York Yankees will face with their collection of aging superstars. Years ago it may have been pre-mature but the Jorge Posada soap opera last weekend and the Derek Jeter contract dispute over the summer smacks me and all Yankees fans in the face that the future is now, and unlike the Y2K hysteria this media creation is real.

Jorge Posada was wrong. He asked out of the line-up and apparently in an expletive laced tirade, he asked off the team an hour before a nationally televised game against their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox.

Yeah that wasn’t going to attract any media attention, right. He apologized. He was and should be forgiven. The fact that he is feeling or has felt disrespected, I still find a little troubling. Further, if you are sincerely sorry, you need to stop talking about the adjustment to being a DH, put your team first, and hit.

Other great players have made the transition and accepted it as an opportunity to extend their career rather than as a demotion. You still have an opportunity to be a starting player on the winningest franchise in all of sports and you’re making 13 million to boot. You can view it as a blessing or a banishment. These can be moments to savor or moments to waste in self-pity or bruised ego. Which sounds better?

Truth is, if the Boston Red Sox management ran the Yankees they wouldn’t be having these problems with Posada and the contract difficulties they had over the summer with Jeter. The Sox are much more cold-blooded about these situations and I mean that in a good way.

In the past they let go of an iconic star, Roger Clemens, potential Boston icons, Mo Vaughn and Nomar Garciaparra, and the guy who hit a game seven grand slam in Yankee stadium to help them get to and win their first World Series since 1918, all-star Johnny Damon.

The Red Sox recent history is to make a fair market value offer and see how badly their stars want to be on the team. As a result, in recent years, David Ortiz has taken less money to stay with them (and batted anywhere in the order they asked). They have locked up some of their young stars on friendly deals like Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Youk has agreed to play whatever position helps the team.

With Jeter it seems like it is sacrilegious to mention switching from shortstop. Okay Youkilis is a younger player who hasn’t yet earned Jeter’s status but he is a star.

However, there is no debate that catcher Jason Varitek means at least every bit as much to the Red Sox as Posada does to the Yankees, maybe more, as he is their captain. During his last contract negotiations, the Sox treated him based on his current value and were prepared to let him go. They didn’t buy into the idea that they had to overpay him now for past services rendered that he was fairly compensated for, or for his iconic status. They were not going to cave and they won a stare down with the Darth Vader of the sport, agent Scott Boras.

Not only did Varitek stay for Boston’s price, but he has since accepted a back-up role, and even batted ninth without it being a problem. He is still the team leader they have come to expect. In all of these decisions, the Red Sox moves proved correct with the possible exception of Clemens, who comes with an asterisk because of alleged PED use.

If Jeter and Posada are who we thought they are, are they supposed to be fighting for every last dime? Would they put their ego (with respect to fielding position and batting order) before the team? If Jeter played for any other franchise he’d likely be making around ten million a season on a one to three-year deal and he’d be happy with it. Here, if true, the talk is he feels betrayed.

Yankees management enables these situations by overpaying players, and caring too much about what the media thinks. Yes, Yankees management did talk too much during the Jeter negotiations wanting to win the media battle if you will. As a result, Jeter is said to have a chip on shoulder about how the process was handled even though he is arguably being overpaid by around 20 million on this contract.

Here is another example. Giving Posada four years on his last deal was too much. The Yankees knew that and offered three, but rumors of the New York Mets offering four got them to match it. This is another situation where you need to be like the Red Sox and not be scared to let your players walk. You should have stuck with three and put the onus on Posada.

If 2007 World Series MVP for the Red Sox, Mike Lowell could turn down a fourth year offered by another team to stay with the Red Sox, than Posada could have as well. And again, Lowell accepted whatever role he was given and was a good soldier about it.

During 1990’s World Series run, the Yankees had a great culture integrating veterans and youth and a team first attitude. Today this belongs to the Red Sox, and it is not like their players are playing for free, they have the second highest payroll in baseball.

You can do it again New York. Stop talking to the media about these things (or keep it to a humble minimum), make the tough choices now, and reap the rewards for it later. Contract wise you may be stuck for a while because of the deals you already have on paper but if players aren’t performing you can’t be scared to bring up Jesus Montero and any other young players you have in your system. Then it will be up to you to treat your stars firmly, fairly, and with dignity.  And remember, your stars of tomorrow will be watching.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Good Call By Jeter To Retire

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I always say an athlete should retire when they are good and ready.  No need to worry about legacies and staying on too long.  Usually, these are young men and women when they retire from their sport, and better to hang on one year too many than leave one year too soon.

Having said that, and having been a fan of Derek Jeter’s throughout his career, I applaud him on the timing of the choice he is making to move on and retire.

After an injury plagued 2013 his current season can go one of two ways:

  • He can return to his all-star form and go out on a high note.
  • Age and his foot injuries can take a toll on his skills and we could bear witness to an uncomfortable decline.

The following questions and hounding from the media would have added to this season’s grind.  With questions about:

  • His game?
  • Impending free agency?
  • How long he can play shortstop and bat at the top of the order?
  • Is he considering retiring?

All of that pressure is out the window, as 2014 now becomes a celebration.  Like his great teammate Mariano Rivera, who also suffered a serious injury prior to his final season, Jeter deserves to go out on his own terms and with the fanfare of a modern-day baseball icon.  2014 will be about love and winning one more ring for the road.

Aside from what he may do on the field this year, Jeter’s final gift to his fans across the nation and MLB, by making this announcement now, is that every last game he plays in each ballpark becomes “must see” TV.

The cherry on top for Jeter is that by retiring at the end of 2014, he’ll be gone for the return of the circus in 2015, that is Alex Rodriguez when A-Rod returns from his 162 ban for use of PED’s.

For as bland as Jeter can be when it comes to avoiding saying anything controversial, when it comes to seminal moments, such as the closing of Yankee Stadium, the death of George Steinbrenner, or his retirement post on facebook today, he authentically communicates like a leader, with grace, and appreciation.

Here is to you Captain, and your hunt for a sixth championship ring with the New York Yankees.

 

No Deal Between A-Rod and MLB is a Good Thing

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I hope Alex Rodriguez gets what he deserves.  That sounds like a loaded statement against A-Rod, but it is not.  If someone is guilty of a crime I want him to get the sentence the crime calls for.  If he is innocent, I want him to go free.  If he is guilty of a lesser crime, than the person should be punished accordingly and in line with what others who have committed the same offense and who have the same history or record.

There are a lot of people out there who do not like Rodriguez.  I’m a Yankee fan who never wanted him to be on the team.  When A-Rod opted out of his contract I was praying for the Yankees to sign a Boston Red Sox free agent, Mike Lowell, so third base could be filled and they could move on from A-Rod.  But alas, they didn’t, and then they signed A-Rod to an absurd extension.

However, not liking someone is not an excuse for not sorting through the facts to reach a fair conclusion, or for abusing power.  It’s not for the state to unilaterally do that to its citizens, nor for Major League Baseball (or management) to do it to players (or workers).

A recent example is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreaching in the bounty-gate scandal.  Yes, we need to make football safer for players, and yes bounties are wrong and a rule violation, but in his zeal to make the game safer, Goodell went too far with his punishment and New Orleans Saints players won on appeal.

With performance enhancing drugs, we have an issue where there is seemingly even more agreement that it has to go.  And because Goodell overreached, that doesn’t mean MLB commissioner Bud Selig is currently about to do the same.

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Bill Belichick & Roger Goodell

The reason I don’t want a deal is because I want the full truth to come out.  When deals get made, the truth often gets lost or filed away with clauses that bind both parties from talking.  Evidence gets locked away.  I still want to know what is on those spy-gate tapes that Roger Goodell destroyed in the New England Patriot scandal.

If A-Rod is guilty of the things being reported:

  • Using steroids for three seasons.
  • Obstructing investigations.
  • Leading other players to use steroids.

Further, that the evidence collected against A-Rod far exceeds what they have collected on others, than the ban being talked about, 214 games, sounds fair to me.  And if A-Rod thinks he has received negative press before, wait until all of this supposed evidence comes out.  It will be unrelenting.  Again if the allegations are true, he will deserve much of the scorn he will receive.

However, if MLB is bluffing and or doesn’t have the evidence, like what happened with Goodell and bounty-gate, than regardless of your feelings for A-Rod, he should be punished accordingly and closer to what the other players are receiving, in the 50 game range.

Further, while he still may be guilty of PED use, if the evidence is not there to punish him to the extent being rumored, there will be some small measure of vindication for A-Rod.  And another reminder to the guilty until proven innocent crowd that judgment should be delayed until the all the facts are in.

Personally, I am rooting for MLB to have the evidence that has been suggested they have.  Ever since 2000 when A-Rod talked smack about Derek Jeter, A-Rod has been on my sh*t list.  He hasn’t earned his way off since.

As a Yankee fan, it would be good for the team, to be rid of him and get the salary relief they would receive from such a suspension.  That is $34 million plus whatever they save in luxury tax money that could be applied elsewhere.  Also, if true I want A-Rod to be exposed for the fraud that he is.  I want all of the evidence to be known.

However, if he is just another steroid user, than he deserves to be evaluated, judged and punished in that context.

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One way or the other, as a result of Biogenesis scandal, I think baseball will increase PED penalties for all.  Which is a good thing.  And I applaud the MLB Union and MLBPA director Michael Weiner for their cooperation on this issue. Rather than the usual close ranks and protect the guilt at all costs because that is what is we do.  By taking the big picture view, the Union is helping to protect its players long-term and protect the integrity of the game.

Shut Jeter Down Now!

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

I don’t want to say it was overly optimistic that Derek Jeter could be in the NY Yankees‘ starting lineup to start the 2013 season.  If it was just Jeter saying so than yes, but I’m assuming the Yankees and Jeter are not taking his medical problems to the free clinic and their doctors are top notch.  If they thought it was possible to likely he could be ready than so be it.  But now reality has come crashing down and Jeter’s ankle is barking.

Barring a pennant race, if this were the middle of the season a team wouldn’t worry about getting a player back before he was ready.  There should be no additional angst because it is opening day.  Even if that opening day is against the Boston Red Sox.

Opening day hysteria is just that, hysteria. All is not necessarily right or wrong with the world if Jeter or any player makes or misses opening day.  Home teams that win openers on walk off home runs usually don’t go on to win world series and it is okay for DJ to miss opening day.

ANGELS YANKEES

And just because Jeter may not be ready for the opener doesn’t mean this is the beginning of the end of Jeter’s career.  I forget, would this be the second or third beginning of the end for Jeter?   Do not count the Captain out!

No, the way this would or could be the beginning of the end for sure is if the Yankees, or Jeter rush himself back.

True, the Yankees are in a bind with all of their other injuries to players like Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez, but Jeter’s injury, yes coupled with his age, cannot and should not be rushed.

To help ensure that this is not the beginning of the end for Jeter, put him on the DL, end any thought of him for opening day and let him continue to focus on proper rehab.

How Much Money Should The NY Yankees Offer Robinson Cano? (Not as much as you’d think)

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/23/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

canoRobinson Cano may be the best second baseman in baseball.  Robinson Cano may be the best free agent heading into the 2014 season.  Does that mean he is entitled to be the next grossly overpaid athlete?  We know his agent Scott, “who cares what it does to the rest of a team or baseball”, Boras thinks.

As great as he is, I thought the St. Louis Cardinals did the right thing in passing on Albert Pujols.  I outlined a host of issues and other overpaid players prior to Pujols’ free agency here.  (You can now add Joe Mauer to the list.)  It’s just year one, but Pujols’ old team made the playoffs, and his new team, the Los Angeles Angels, did not.

Even by ludicrous standards, as good a player as Cano is, he is more hype than fact if he wants Pujols or Alex Rodriguez  money.  To get an absurd ten-year 225 – 300 million dollar contracts, which is what Boras is rumored to want for Cano, you’ve got to be an elite five-tool player.  Historically great.  Not just the best free agent in a given year who is repped by Scott, “I’ll manipulate a player’s numbers to get insane money” Boras.

And if you’ve been given an opportunity, like Cano has, to bring it in the playoffs, you’d better perform.  At a minimum, an elite star should perform to his regular season standard.  Ideally, he should be taking it to an even higher level and carrying his team for that kind of cheese.

In seven seasons, Cano has hit over 30 home runs one time.  In lefty, hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, that is not exactly the second coming of Babe Ruth.  On the offensively stacked NY Yankees, he has hit over 100 rbi’s, twice.  His career batting average is .308.  That’s better than very good, but not Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs either.  Cano has hit over .320 twice.  No batting titles.  He has 31 stolen bases.  For his career!  He has been caught stealing 27 times.

So, Cano is not a speed guy.  He has some power, hitting over 20 home runs four times, but he is not an elite power guy.  Speed and power would be two of the five very important aforementioned five tools.

Let’s look at Cano’s playoff stats.  Has he carried his team?  No.  He has appeared in fifty-one games, so not a small sample size.  His batting average is .222.  In his lone World Series he hit .136 with no home runs and one RBI.

By comparison, A-Rod, whose contract often gets justifiably ripped, hit .250 in the same World Series and has a career .263 post-season batting average.  Forgetting PED use for moment, A-Rod’s regular season numbers dwarf Cano’s.  A-Rod has won three MVP’s, Cano has never finished higher than third in the voting, (which he did once).  A-Rod wasn’t worth his money and I don’t see Cano being worth that neighborhood either.

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Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t bring this up but Cano doesn’t exactly have Derek Jeter’s reputation for hustle and running out ground balls or fly pops.  Some say, “this is unfair and mention how former Yankee Paul O’Neill was the same way, and it was never talked about with him.”  Paul O’Neill was never asking for the kind of money Cano is rumored to want.  O’Neill was never going to be the face of the franchise.  It’s the difference between how the media and the public scrutinize someone who is running for congress versus running for President.  It’s a higher standard when you’re asking for that kind of contract.

So how much money over how many years should the Yankees offer Cano?  I’d offer him the highest contract in baseball for a second basemen.  Ian Kingsler  currently has that distinction with a five year $70 million deal with a sixth year option that can raise it as high as $82 million or a buyout that makes it worth $75m.  Working off of that, the Yankees should offer Cano five years at $85 million with an option for a sixth year that could raise it to $100 million.  This offer is nothing to sneeze at or apologize for.

I expect Cano will make much more.  He is a solid all-star,  great fielder, good guy, with no off the field issues.  He will garner interest from a few clubs that spend money like its monopoly.  And, “the all you need is one dumb owner” rule is always in play with Scott, I’d rip the teddy bear out of a dying babies hands if I could find that teddy bear a better offer”, Boris.

The Yankees have broken with their tradition of not negotiating new contracts while a player is still under contract because they are wisely trying to change their ways.  They have hit their financial ceiling at the same time that many other clubs are raising theirs.

In other words, the Yankees can’t buy their way out of mistakes like they used to.  Two of those mistakes, A-Rod and Mark Teixeira,  sit on their roster until 2017 and  2016.  The old Yankees could have spent ridiculously on Cano and Curtis Granderson (who will also be a free agent at the end of 2013).  There are rumblings now are that they can’t afford both.

Despite my argument here, I like Cano a lot.  It would be great if Cano could be the next Yankee lifer after Derek Jeter, retires.  But not at the expense of further handicapping the roster with a seven to ten-year north of 25 million per season contract.  Post PED era, giving that to a thirty-one year old all but guarantees you’re not going to get close to value.  And Cano’s peak numbers don’t warrant that kind of money anyway.  Further, by spurning the Yankees in talks now to chase every last dollar in free agency, while it is Cano’s right, it reminds us it is a business and hurts his “true Yankee cred”.

Yankee money, which is no longer limitless, is better off being spread out over pitching, multiple players or even player development.

 

Why Mariano Rivera Is The Most Valuable NY Yankee In The Last Forty Years

MriveraNow that Mariano Rivera has announced his retirement it is the right time to start putting in perspective what he has meant to the most storied franchise in all of sports.

Without question he is the most valuable NY Yankee in the last forty years.  You can make arguments for others but for the sake of this blog, I’ll boil it down to Mo versus the Captain, Derek Jeter.

Of course they are both off the charts valuable and the Yankees would not have been the same without either player.  They are winners and class personified on and off the field.

But here is the question:  What do Raul Ibanez, Scott Brosius, Jose Viscaino, Aaron Boone, Luis Sojo, and Chad Curtis all have in common?  They have all gotten huge clutch hits or home runs to win playoff and or World Series games.  I specifically didn’t mention any of the major stars that have done likewise.

And lest you think anyone can get lucky once, Scott Brosius was the World Series MVP in 1998.  True, you can counter that the first of five rings won by Rivera and Jeter, Rivera was the set-up man and the MVP was closer John Wetteland.  Wetteland, already having notched seasons of 43 and 37 saves prior to joining the Yankees was more accomplished than any of the aforementioned hitters.  But as the future unfolded, history now reflects Wettleland was far from a Rivera.

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And while Jeter did win a WS MVP in 2000, (Rivera won his in 1999) there have been plenty of other stars that have helped carry the load.  From Bernie Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Tino Martinez, Darryl Strawberry, and Paul O’Neill, just to name some, Jeter has had a lot of help doing what he does as far as getting to the post season and clutch hits and game winning plays once there.  Rivera has been a part of some great bullpens but for the majority of the current Yankee run, he is the closer.

Personally, I don’t get why closing is so hard.  In the modern-day game it is one lousy inning most of the time.  (Although Mo would often go two in the playoffs.) Clearly it is the pressure.  With apologies to Trevor Hoffman who could not get it done in the postseason, part of the greatness that is Rivera is his unmatched combined consistent greatness in the regular and post season.

As iconic as Jeter is, there have been more consistently great shortstops than closers.  And since there are eight position players, if you have a weak or injured star shortstop you can balance it out with the production of other players (and the DH).  If you don’t have a lock down closer, you can’t hide that weakness.

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In other words, if you replaced Jeter with an average shortstop, you can get offense, defense and leadership from other players.  You replace Rivera with an average closer and you’re not going to win.

If you start a franchise with Mo, you don’t have to worry about closing games for fifteen years.  You start a franchise with Jeter, and your offense is just beginning.  Unlike Bugs Bunny, one position player can’t do it alone.

One of the things that make bad teams worse is not being able to close the games that they are leading in.  One of things that make good teams great and great teams legendary can boil down to the team that has the closer versus the team that doesn’t.

The inability to close puts more pressure on starting pitchers, the offense, everyone.  On the other hand, having “The Hammer of God”, in Rivera, at your disposal, is pretty comforting.  It has a ripple effect beyond the limited innings a closer pitches.

When David Justice came to the Yankees he said, of his Atlanta Brave teams of the nineties, that they would have won four or five championships if they had Rivera.  Even if it meant trading Chipper Jones or any one of the better position players, those Braves teams likely do better than one WS with Rivera.

It must be noted that if Jeter goes on to win more World Series’ after Rivera retires, and surpasses four thousand hits I may have to revisit.