“… we chose to go a different direction; not offer arbitration …” — Brian Cashman
Well, “arbitration day” final arrived, and the above quote says it all. The Yankees had eight players eligible for arbitration and decided not to offer any of these players that option. As Cashman said, “we [the Yankees] chose to go a different direction”.
Bobby Abreu … Andy Pettitte … Jason Giambi … Chad Moeller … Ivan Rodriguez … Sidney Ponson … Carl Pavano … and, Mike Mussina [retired], are the “eight players” that may not get a chance to play in the “new” Yankee Stadium, unless they return with some other team. Of course, really seven players, since Mussina has retired.
The Yankees will miss Bobby Abreu and Andy Pettitte the most if Brian Cashman, and Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, let them “just walk away from the Yanks”. It is very disturbing to even imagine the Yankees letting “money”, of all things, get in the way of bringing back two players who have contributed so much to the team in their time in the Bronx; and, have so much more to offer — Pettitte for at least one year; Abreu for two or three years.
Cashman also said in his statement …
“… Bobby was a Type ‘A’, and Andy was a Type ‘A’, so the determination that we made today was to make sure that we control what amount we’d be spending, at least in the event that we’re fortunate enough to bring those players back” … “We did not want to put ourselves in the position of having that determined by a third party without knowing what the figure would be” … “We just wanted to control the cost that we would allocate for every position on the club” … “By offering arbitration, we would lose our ability to at least determine a final cost” … “We chose to go a different direction; not offer arbitration, and we’ll still stay engaged with the entire free agent market including those two players.”
The Yankees decision to not offer arbitration to the above eight players is very clearly “all about money”. And, in my view, “money” should not be an issue in regards to bringing back Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte; and, also, Chad Moeller, who did a fine job in his role as the third catcher, backing-up, and even starting, when injuries shut-down Jorge Posada and Jose Molina at various times last year.
With the $80 Million that the Yankees will save with the departure of: Giambi; Ivan Rodriguez; Ponson; Pavano; and, Mussina; as well as, the expired contracts of: Abreu, Pettitte, and Moeller, the Yanks can now condense that total into the signing of: Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, and Chad Moeller.
The Yankees will be a much stronger team if they start their free-agent signing spree by offering Abreu a “three” year / $45 Million deal; Pettitte a “two” year / $25 Million deal; and, Moller at least a “one” year deal. At least start the process, and make these players an offer.
Then, top all other teams in the pursuit of Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia.
It has been estimated, that the New York Yankees are worth about $1.5 Billion; the Yes Network about $3.5 Billion; and, the new Yankee Stadium will “virtually” have a license to “print” money starting in 2009. So, for the Yankees braintrust to “nickel and dime” all those Millions of Dollars is really ridiculous. The Yankees “have” plenty of money; so, a payroll in the range of $225 Million should be very comfortably manageable by the New York Yankees Organization.
It’s time for Hank and Hal Steinbrenner to step up to the plate, and “court” all these free-agents, just as their father, George M. Steinbrenner, III, did, with free-agent players such as Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson in the 1970’s.
Mr. Steinbrenner always knew, “it takes money to sign the top free-agent players on the market”.
Hopefully, this successful, winning philosophy will be continued by Hank and Hal, starting with the signings of: Mark Teixeira; CC Sabathia; Bobby Abreu; and Andy Pettitte — this winter.