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Aug 182009

One question that has been floating around the Yankee blogosphere over the last 12 hours is the following, voiced by MJ over at Was Watching:

Why would you draft a player that you’re taking a flier on, let him pitch in the Cape Cod league and watch him dominate and then not sign him? Presumably, the performance in the Cape should’ve solidified and justified the draft-day gamble on him and given the Yanks comfort that their flier was justfiied.

Instead, according to a response I got from Baseball America’s Jim Callis, the Yanks balked at Lyons’s $500K bonus demand and will let him go back to OSU for his senior season. I find this very odd. While I philosophically understand the need to create a budget and stick to it, I am surprised that $500K was the budget’s threshold.

The answer is really very simple. Unlike those of us who follow prospects through the reports of others, the Yankees actually scout these players and make decisions based on more than numbers. The Yankees saw Lyons pitch at the Cape, and obviously picked up on something that made him less than a priority to them. They certainly did not pocket the money ticketed for Lyons, as they signed a number of players taken after him to bonuses larger than 500K. As Mike at RAB notes:

Well, after last night’s last minute signing of 44th rounder Evan DeLuca for $500,000, the Yanks have spent at least $6.185M on this draft, and that doesn’t include the likely six-figure bonuses given to 12th rounder Brett Gerritse, 13th rounder DeAngelo Mack, and 14th rounder Graham Stoneburner among others. It’s not difficult to envision a scenario where the Yanks spent $7M on this draft.

$7M on one draft class is a ton of money, but just how much? The epiphany draft of 2006 – the one that landed Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, Mark Melancon, David Robertson and Dellin Betances – cost $6.7M. Just seven clubs spent more than that last year, and almost all of them had to shell major bucks out to top ten picks. By no means did the Yankees go cheap this year.

The Yankees had a very large budget, but it was still necessary to draw a line somewhere. They valued certain players as much or more than Lyons, and allocated the balance of their budget to those players.

25 Responses to “The Yankees Draft Budget”

  1. I don’t think it’s an issue of going cheap, I think the problem is it was like a College football team who has scholarship offers out to 5 QB’s of varying ability then takes whatever QB is willing to Verbal to that team with the betters guys still out there, you don’t do that.You slow play the guys ready to sign and hold out hope that the best guys will eventually sign up instead.
    How do you walk from arguably 3 top, high ceiling left-handed arms (maybe 4 if you count Ottoson) who are willing to sign and take some of the guys they took instead.
    Lyons and Meade amongst others,even Keeling, appear to be MLB caliber pitching prospects and all throw from the port side.They are big boys all I believe in the 6’3 and up range and some of those other pitchers who were willing to sign but didn’t get better offers also appear to be as good if not better than some who were signed.
    Again, Red Sox signed some big boys who project to throw 95 and we signed some shorter guys who throw 90-92 and don’t project to be fire ballers who might develop into top guys.
    What could be more important than good left handed arms in the NEW Yankees Stadium and what could be more important than left handed hitters like Andrew Alpin who was also available for more money and might have been better than some others signed.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I understand where you are coming from, but that was the point of my article. The Yankees signed the guys the definitely wanted, and then had a number of guys in a second category. Lyons and Meade last heard from the Yankees 4 days ago, prior to plenty of the agreements that were reached. Apparently the Yankees did not value them as highly as you did, despite the fact that they drafted them. Obviously they saw something that turned them off.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Also, Lyons was never a 95 guy. He is an 89-91 guy with good breaking stuff.  (Quote)

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    The other Chris H Reply:

    You know what all of that doesn’t mean anything! Who cares if we didn’t sign some left handed arms the likely hood they make it to the majors and then actually contribute are so small disagreeing with which ones should have actually signed is irrelevant. I agree with Mo they Yankees watched them and saw something they didn’t like… You didn’t see them in person so you can’t say they would be anything, our team has done a good job of getting the farm system back up and running and they seem to know more than we do I’ll trust that.  (Quote)

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  2. Moshe, your second paragraph was the heart and sole of the article.
    Too many of us go by what we read or hear of a player whereas, the Yankees depend on reports we (fans) will never see. Once the fans get past that, they may understand why the team does things the way they do. Understood is the plain fact; even with all the reports, mistakes are made everyday.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Jake H Reply:

    Very true. Why we just see the line, it doesn’t show if the outs were hard or if there was something in the delivery that on further scouting made the Yanks afraid to sign them.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Heck you don’t even know what the caliber of the opponent is, what if every strike out is against mediocre players and all good players either get hits or lone hard hit outs.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. I totally disagree that Yankees got all the guys they wanted and I’d bet Damon Oppenheimer would admit that is the case.
    When you have a budget you have to be pretty careful and wait and wait.

    Here’s LAne Myer on some of those SOuthpaws we couldn’t sign, due to a lack of money.

    Here are three more updates on signability guys on the Cape.

    * Tyler Lyons told me yesterday that he’s in the same situation as Meade and Bruening – waiting for the Yankees offer that should be in sometime in the next few days, and hoping it will meet his needs to sign. After a slightly off start, Tyler has been totally lights out for Chatham and is currently tied for 6th on the ERA leaders list with a 1.77. In his 46 IP Tyler has given up 35 hits, and has a K/BB ratio of 44/8.
    * Tyler’s OSU Cowboys teammate, Thomas Keeling told me the chances of him signing aren’t very good this summer. The enigmatic lefty also pitched for Chatham, but while displaying dominant stuff at times, he also exhibited the wildness that affected his draft stock. In his 12.1 IP, Tom had 15 strikeouts, but 13 walks. Look for Keeling to go back to OSU and work to improve his position in next years draft by harnessing his raw stuff.

    August 4th, 2009

    Sorry for the delay, things are hectic in the Meyer household recently and I haven’t been able to update at all. I’ve still been keeping tabs on some of our favorite signability cases though, and here’s the latest…

    * Reader, Dave Brown sent me this article that discusses Aaron Meade and where he currently stands. It seems the following quote worried some fan of the Draft Spot:

    Meade said last week that he was leaning toward returning to MSU as the Yankees had yet to make a contract offer to his liking. The deadline for players to sign pro contracts is Aug. 17.

    * I spoke to Aaron today about the article, where things stood, and if it was true that he was leaning towards school. The answers were very positive, Yankee fans. He told me that at the time he gave the interview that was the way everything looked to him – he had not received an offer from the Yankees and had very limited contact with them. Since that time however, Aaron has met with Damon before one of his games, and while he still hasn’t received his offer, he is optimistic because he knows one is on the way. The issue now is whether or not the Yankee offer is enough to sign him away from school. Aaron has been completely, totally, and utterly dominant on the Cape, finishing with an ERA under 2.00, and throwing an absolute gem this past Sunday while locking up in a classic 1-0 pitcher’s duel with fellow Yankee draftee, Tyler Lyons. The lefty from Missouri State finishes up his time with Harwich tied for 3rd in strikeouts, and just outside the top ten in ERA. He told me that he hopes to hear the offer sometime within the next week.
    * I asked Aaron about his Mariners teammate, Brett Bruening, and he said that the big righty is in the same boat as he is – waiting on the Yankee offer and whether or not it will be enough.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Seems like they all had some problems that caused them to be second tier of players to sign thus not making them priority or considered needed.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. leftylarry: I totally disagree that Yankees got all the guys they wanted and I’d bet Damon Oppenheimer would admit that is the case.
    When you have a budget you have to be pretty careful and wait and wait.Here’s LAne Myer on some of those SOuthpaws we couldn’t sign, due to a lack of money.”"”"Here are three more updates on signability guys on the Cape.* Tyler Lyons told me yesterday that he’s in the same situation as Meade and Bruening – waiting for the Yankees offer that should be in sometime in the next few days, and hoping it will meet his needs to sign.After a slightly off start, Tyler has been totally lights out for Chatham and is currently tied for 6th on the ERA leaders list with a 1.77.In his 46 IP Tyler has given up 35 hits, and has a K/BB ratio of 44/8. * Tyler’s OSU Cowboys teammate, Thomas Keeling told me the chances of him signing aren’t very good this summer.The enigmatic lefty also pitched for Chatham, but while displaying dominant stuff at times, he also exhibited the wildness that affected his draft stock.In his 12.1 IP, Tom had 15 strikeouts, but 13 walks.Look for Keeling to go back to OSU and work to improve his position in next years draft by harnessing his raw stuff.August 4th, 2009Sorry for the delay, things are hectic in the Meyer household recently and I haven’t been able to update at all.I’ve still been keeping tabs on some of our favorite signability cases though, and here’s the latest…* Reader, Dave Brown sent me this article that discusses Aaron Meade and where he currently stands.It seems the following quote worried some fan of the Draft Spot:Meade said last week that he was leaning toward returning to MSU as the Yankees had yet to make a contract offer to his liking. The deadline for players to sign pro contracts is Aug. 17.* I spoke to Aaron today about the article, where things stood, and if it was true that he was leaning towards school.The answers were very positive, Yankee fans.He told me that at the time he gave the interview that was the way everything looked to him – he had not received an offer from the Yankees and had very limited contact with them.Since that time however, Aaron has met with Damon before one of his games, and while he still hasn’t received his offer, he is optimistic because he knows one is on the way.The issue now is whether or not the Yankee offer is enough to sign him away from school.Aaron has been completely, totally, and utterly dominant on the Cape, finishing with an ERA under 2.00, and throwing an absolute gem this past Sunday while locking up in a classic 1-0 pitcher’s duel with fellow Yankee draftee, Tyler Lyons.The lefty from Missouri State finishes up his time with Harwich tied for 3rd in strikeouts, and just outside the top ten in ERA.He told me that he hopes to hear the offer sometime within the next week. * I asked Aaron about his Mariners teammate, Brett Bruening, and he said that the big righty is in the same boat as he is – waiting on the Yankee offer and whether or not it will be enough.”"”"”

    Oppenheimer ran out of money early.Yankees should have waited a bit.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    How do you make that inference from what you quoted? They had money for Lyons and Meade that they gave to guys like DeLuca and Talerico. They obviously liked the latter two better.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Because he doesn’t know what he is talking about on 9/10 posts.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  5. No, maybe Deluca was cheaper and they gave the money to 5’8 outfielders like the Hockey player earlier on.
    Maybe sign one less catcher, one less pitcher and you have the money for the better prospect.
    I’d like to hear from D .O . that every pitcher he signed, he liked better than the LH’s he let go back to School.
    Additionally, Heathcoat got too much money because they missed on Cole last season and had no leverage because they wouldn’t get compensation if they let him walk.
    Of course if they did sign Gerrit COle, they wouldn’t have had that pick anyway. LOL.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Lyons said he asked for 500K, which is what they gave Deluca. So they chose between the two, and chose Deluca.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  6. The other Chris H: Because he doesn’t know what he is talking about on 9/10 posts.

    I’ve forgotten more than you know.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Which is the real mature way of agreeing with me but it doesn’t matter I’m not getting into anything with a 12 year old.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  7. The other Chris H: Seems like they all had some problems that caused them to be second tier of players to sign thus not making them priority or considered needed.

    That’s the simpleton Yankees can do no wrong explanation.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    No it’s the I have never seen any of those players play a game and neither have you so we don’t know exactly what they are capable of or what they what they did while they were putting up numbers.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Huh? He didnt say the Yankees were right for choosing Deluca over Lyons, just that you and I dont really know enough to make that call, while the Yanks have more info and can make an informed decision.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  8. Moshe Mandel: Huh? He didnt say the Yankees were right for choosing Deluca over Lyons, just that you and I dont really know enough to make that call, while the Yanks have more info and can make an informed decision.

    Let’s not ever question any move then ever.Yankees know best.That’s why Kei Igawa is making 12 mil and Bret Tomko is shutting us out.
    Guess what?
    This was a good draft, i’m pretty happy but and if Oppenheimer had it to do over again, HE’d tell you maybe they should have saved some dough for the Left Handers who they wanted to actually see pitch in the Cape league.
    When they were very good, the money wasn’t there anymore.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Who was that money spent on? Not any of the guys signed over the last few days, obviously, because they could have just given that money to Lyons.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  9. The other Chris H: No it’s the I have never seen any of those players play a game and neither have you so we don’t know exactly what they are capable of or what they what they did while they were putting up numbers.

    I’ll say it again.
    There were quite a few players signed who are less valuable than the LH pitchers should any make it.
    I’d bet Oppenheimer would have liked to sign them.
    Some money should have been saved.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  10. The other Chris H: Which is the real mature way of agreeing with me but it doesn’t matter I’m not getting into anything with a 12 year old.

    Actually, I’m a 55 year old self made multi-millionaire who is self banning himself from this site.Bye.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    StandingO'Neill Reply:

    Now we all win, nice  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  11. Know what would be a good story? Whether Hal Steinbrenner’s horse breeding experience has influenced the way that the Y’s approach the draft and IFA signings.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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