If you Googled the phrase “buy a championship,” I suspect that the words “New York Yankees” would appear in approximately 92% of the results that came back. For non-Yankees fans it’s simply part of the brand now. The assumption, held for years, that money is no object in the Bronx.
Except money is an object. At least relatively speaking. Sure, the Yankees spend more than anyone else, but they do have a budget and an increasing reluctance to break that budget. If you don’t believe me, go read Marc Carig’s story about that in the Star-Ledger this morning.
These Yankees work with budgets — yes, still the largest war chest in the game — but limits nonetheless … according to people with knowledge of the team’s thinking who requested anonymity to speak candidly, the Yankees came away from the GM meetings Thursday skeptical of their willingness to meet the asking price of top free agents such as pitcher C.J. Wilson or Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish.
Indeed, it’s so bad that Brian Cashman is actually sleeping on the streets like a homeless person!
I guess there’s a philosophical discussion to be had about the nature of the Yankees budget. I mean, Bill Gates could have a budget. May in fact have one. As a point of principle he doesn’t want to be wasteful and he wants to set a good example for his kids, so he makes it clear that, say, the family can’t eat out at restaurants more than X times a month or something. Say what you want about that, but it is, technically speaking, a budget. It’s just not the same kind of thing as one that the family with the unemployed parents and the big medical bills have.
And it seems to me that the key thing about a budget is that, if you can simply choose to break it and the breaking of it brings no real negative financial consequences, it was really only a budget in the most narrow, technical sense of that term.
The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.
As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.
The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.
Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.
It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.
While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.