Joel Sherman reported this morning that Randy Winn’s 900K in contract incentives are predicated upon hitting certain amounts of at-bats against left handed pitching. Eariler today, Rob Abruzzese explained the reasoning behind the highly unusual contract, and clarified how the Marcus Thames deal figures into the equation:
This is where Marcus Thames comes in. Thames signed a one-year minor league deal for $900,000 – the exact same amount as Winn’s incentives. Coincidence? Maybe not. I’m starting to believe that the Yankees will use spring training to see exactly what they have in Jamie Hoffmann, Winn, and Thames.
If they like Winn against lefties and plan on using him in a way where he’ll reach all of his incentives, they could then send Thames down or release him and stick with Hoffmann. That way they’re paying off only $2 million plus the major league minimum for Hoffmann. Or if Winn isn’t overly impressive, they keep him as a defensive caddy and stick with Thames and they’re still paying out the same $2 million.
Either way, they’re only paying $2 million if Winn hits lefties.
This is an extremely creative contract, and I think Rob is spot on in explaining what the Yankees were thinking with all of these moves. This should make for an interesting spring training, as two veteran players in Winn and Thames will be fighting over the same 900,000 dollars. I would prefer to have Thames on the bench as a power bat than have Winn and Hoffmann both on the team, because the latter two have redundant skills. Carrying Thames and Winn provides a more diverse bench for Joe Girardi to utilize.
Speaking of Girardi, Brian Cashman discussed the Yankees’ 3 major 2011 free agents this morning, with Girardi being one of them:
When Brian Cashman looks at Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi, the Yankees’ GM paints his shortstop, closer and manager with the same brush.
And with spring training opening next week in Tampa, Cashman has no plans to stray from his plan of not negotiating with them. All three contracts are in the final year.
“I don’t think you can separate one from the other,” Cashman explained. “I am not saying they are the same, but the questions will come, ‘If you did one, why didn’t you do the other?’ If this was Kansas City, it would be different — but it’s not.”
I wish they would sign these three in the near future, simply because every three game losing streak by the team or poor performance by Rivera and Jeter will cause these unsettled contract situations to be dredged up by the media. However, the club has long had a policy of not negotiating with players until their contracts have expired, such that it is unlikely that any of three will feel like he is being disrespected or treated unfairly. Hopefully, all three have good seasons and next fall’s negotiations are amicable, and we can all avoid an excruciating media frenzy.