Sometimes, reality can be such a damn bitch… I read Joel Sherman’s interview with Hal Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees, in which he discusses the decision to get their payroll under $189 million. What really stood out at me was his response to whether this was a soft goal or a mandate.
“It is something to shoot for, but not at the expense of having a championship-caliber team,” Steinbrenner said. “It is not. It never has been and never will be. It has always been my contention you don’t need a $230 million payroll to field a championship-level team. We are going to get to under $189 million at some point. That is the goal: We believe you can win a championship at $189 million payroll because plenty of teams have.”
Sherman deduces that even at $189 million — as long as Alex Rodriguez remains suspended next year — there will be about $80 million for the Yankees to spend this offseason.
That’s enough he says, to keep Robinson Cano and add Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka, all-star catcher Brian McCann and a left side of the infield insurance policy such as Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew — and maybe even retain Curtis Granderson or Hiroki Kuroda, too.
For those of you who had your eye’s set on first baseman Kendrys Morales, forget about it. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told reporters that the team will definitely make a qualifying offer to the 30-year old switch-hitter. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds that Morales will most certainly reject that approximate $14 million dollar offer in search of a multi-year deal on the free agent market.
Morales hit 23 home runs this season and led the Mariners in hits (167), doubles (34), RBI (80), batting average (.277), extra base hits (57), batting average with runners in scoring position (.312) and game winning RBI (15).
He is represented by Scott Boras.
I got an email yesterday which asked me what my gut feeling was on who will be the Opening Day first baseman for the Mets next season.
Seriously, guys and gals, you need to send me more difficult questions, this one’s way too easy. The Mets first baseman next season will be none other than Lucas Duda – and you can put that one in the books.
He’s a front office darling and they will look past his .233 batting average and point to his .353 on-base. That’s over 100 points worth of walks which reminds me of one of the best Keith-isms of the 2013 season.
It’s the bottom of the eighth, two outs and runners on first and third. The Mets are down by one run and Lucas Duda comes up with a chance to break the game open for the Amazins. Instead, he draws a walk to load the bases. But before Mike Baxter pops up to end the inning, Hernandez says, “Another clutch walk by Lucas Duda… Sigh…”