A few links from around the NL East and AL East, where the Yankees and Nationals reside in first place at the All-Star break …
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman has no plans to acquire a catcher despite Russell Martin's struggles, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. "We have our catching," Cashman said. "I believe in Russell Martin, period."
- The Phillies are flirting with exceeding MLB's luxury-tax threshold of $178MM, which could affect their dealings with impending free agent Cole Hamels, who's also a potential trade candidate, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The looming threat of a luxury tax stifling a player's contract negotiations is something union chief Michael Wiener said he wouldn't be "happy about," but he understands it's part of the the collective bargaining agreement.
- The Blue Jays will have to pay a tax after overshooting the $2.9MM cap for signing international free agents that kicked in on July 2, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Toronto inked three of BA's top 20 international free agents.
- Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said his Boston tenure all but ended when ex-manager Terry Francona's 2012 option was not picked up, leaving a managerial void the club would not fill till December, according to ESPNBoston.com. The Sox never made the right-hander an offer, Papelbon confirmed: "(The Red Sox) wanted to see if I could go out and test the market and maybe come back. I don't know if they would (have countered), but I don't go back. I go forward."
“they’d likely backload his contract so as to subvert the luxury tax, Salisbury explains.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the LT goes by AAV, so what does back loading a deal have to do with it?
Good catch – I believe you’re right about that, and it looks like the story was updated to reflect as much. Thanks for the heads up.
Lee’s deal is back loaded, as is Howards. Ruben is a genius. So what if the Phillies are in the same cap bind that they are now in five years, that’s five years from now.
No matter what happens, the torches and pitchforks will be chasing RAJ within a few years (if not months). Hamels walks and he’s doomed. Or he can give Hamels 7 years to lock him up, and then he’ll be chastised as the rest of the team falls apart around him. The irony being not one big contract he handed out was criticized by the local sports homers (um, I mean media). Howard, Lee, Rollins… all applauded. Papelbon was the only signing that drew mixed reviews over the airwaves at best.
The combination of contracts is killing them. Not just one contract.
My gripe is with how this team is covered. Everyone in the media (and most of the fans) wants Hamels resigned. Yet, that could be another prohibitive contract as they try to rebuild over the next few years. Yes, Hamels is definitely worth building around. But in my opinion with Lee and Halladay already signed to front the rotation, the $25m/yr would be better spent on position players to fill 3B, LF, CF, mid relief, etc. Or they could just bring back Nothington, Mayburied and Pierold with Hamels which seems to be working so well this year. Just wait and see… no one disagreed with any of these big contracts when RAJ locked up the core… yet they’ll be running him out of town when the Phailures continue down the path towards irrelevancy. It’s the players fault, not Charlie and RAJ.
All those untradeable contracts is the exact reason you do resign Hamels. Trading him to go into rebuilding mode is like trying to back a semi truck up a one way road. I don’t get stopping the buck with a relatively young homegrown ace. Furthermore, while this season is a lost cause I don’t think you go from 102 wins to garbage all of a sudden. At this point management needs to pick their poison either way and I’d rather they take their chances going into 2013 with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels again.
Lee’s contract was applauded nationally, as it should. For $100 million + dollars, the Phillies got a reasonable deal.
I do agree with you though, there’s been little to no criticism/questioning of Ruben Amaro Jr (other than the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle) when it’s been deserved.
Since when does a guy who has 14 home runs who gets on base at a .340 clip leave something to be desired?
I think its the 14 home runs in 1873 plate appearances part that ‘leaves something to be desired’. Not exactly Juan Pierre territory, but 1 homer every 140+ at bats isn’t all that special. The slash line wasn’t awful though.
Michael Wiener is worried the negotiations just won’t cut the mustard…
The Yankees have no need for another catcher this season. Martin and Stewart are familiar with a staff that is currently pitching above expectation and that kind of familiarity will loom large come playoff time where pitching is of the utmost importance.
When the season ends however, I would not be opposed to them seeking out a better hitting option. Yes Martin has 8 homeruns but he’s been very bad with the bat all season long.
(In general, catchers around the league have been a big disappoinment this season, save a few.)
The Yankees can live with and compete with their tandem of defensive first catchers this year, but it would be wise to pursue alternative options whether in house with guys like Cervelli / Romine or around the league via free agency and/or trade.
If Martin can get healthy and back to where he was i would love to have him back. No he wasn’t the best hitter, but his obp was around .330 and he had a bit of power. He was just getting on base so the top of the lineup can get him in, his biggest job is the pitching staff, if he can do as little to hurt the lineup then that is fine, walks are your friend.
When your “defense first” catcher is hitting .147 and having an OPS of .555 Against righties it might be a problem. If he wasn’t killing (by his standards) lefties his overall stats would look even uglier.
I with you ONLY because the pitchers are doing well.
Then next season I’d like to see Austin Romine take the starting job.
Romine has been out the entire year with back issues. He didn’t hit much better last year than has Martin this year. I wouldn’t get too excited or have high hopes that he’s going to do much better than Martin if and when he returns.
I’m not buying that Francona’s departure was the final nail in the coffin for Paps. It probably made the decision easier but when you consider Paps has always said he wanted to set the bar for closers and the Phils made a record breaking offer off the bat, I doubt if the Red Sox had been a stable and happy team that Paps would have stuck around.
He probably knew no other team would offer him that type of money.
Papelbon’s ego was the final nail in the coffin for Paps, simple as that.
Yeah, with all the talk about the luxury tax, closer’s the last spot you spend big on. and there were several cheap (moneywise) options available.
it was obvious long before september.
Boston looked at giving him 2 year deals several years back, even longer and he wanted no part of it. Papelbon was always looking for the biggest contract out there.
Probably would have ended up as another pedro Martinez, he goes back and forth from one team to the other trying to get each to increase by a few dollars more like martinez did. No more of that. Think Boston was just ready to see Papelbon gone a year or so before he left and was already in look mode.
yea they could be cheap but also they were not as reliable as Paps. If your RAJ and coming into the year your not going to have your 3/4 hitters why wouldnt you go get the best closer on the market. The thinking is that if they can’t score runs that when they have the lead to hold it. The phillies were paying Lidge 12.5 million dollars the past 3 years so if you paid Lidge why not spend the money Paps. Especially when the payroll is 178
And how’s that logic working out for them?
Martin may not be doing a good job at the plate but he is doing a great job behind the plate and working with the pitching staff. he has helped Hughes come around and he is helping Nova. as for stewart who seems to catch alot for Sabathia is not doing such a bad job. its not just martins bat though. nor stewarts bat that is the problem. its their ability to score with runners in scoring position. although it looks like their starting to come around. they would have won alot more games in the first half if they were able to bring home the runners when they have no outs and bases loaded the first two months of the season.
True but they still have the best record in baseball. I think that they are doing fine. Teix seems to be heating up at least.
The Phils are going to have a really difficult time not going over the luxury tax and still being competitive for the next few years. They’ve got $104M committed to six guys next season who will be 32, 33, 34, 34, 34, and 36. Then they’ve got to re-sign or replace Hamels and Victorino and deal with Pence’s fourth arb year. If I were a Phillies fan, I’d be thinking…yikes.
Yankees have a worse situation, but everyone they lock up at least produces. Their problem is injuries, if they had Howard, utley, halal day, etc their season would be different, but that is how baseball works, you could say the same about Toronto too, and the health of their starters.
Whoosh, the Yanks really dodged a bullet with Russell betting against himself instead of accepting the 3 year/20 million dollar deal.
Jonathan Papelbon seems to sound more and more arrogant with every word that comes from his mouth. Look at what the contract has done to the Phillies in year one. The Sox made their only good decision in some time to not resign him.