Much hand-wringing has ensued at the Yankees’ perceived “cheapness” in the draft this year, as they spent about $6.3 million on the 2011 class, less than they have spent in the last two drafts. For comparison, the Pirates spent over $17 million, the Nationals and Royals spent about $15 million each, and a number of other teams including the Jays, Rays, and Red Sox broke the $10 million mark.
The Yankees were 16th in total spending for the 2011 draft, a somewhat shocking figure for the team with the highest payroll in baseball. Especially since they had some success spending big in the draft in the past (see the monster 2006 draft, which included Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, and David Robertson all getting overslot deals, plus Brett Gardner).
However, as many an astute observe would point out, the Yankees’ spending is lower than many other teams because they did not have a first-round pick at all, while some of the higher spending teams either had multiple 1st-rounders (such as Boston, Tampa, and Toronto), while others shelled out big bonuses to early 1st-rounders (Pittsburgh, KC, and Seattle) that the Yankees did not have the opportunity to draft. As such, a comparison between the Yankees and a team with multiple early picks (or higher picks) is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Rather than using the total money spent in the draft as a marker of how “aggressive” the team was, it might make more sense to look at how much the team exceeded the slot recommendations bonuses.
Baseball America did this breakdown (subscriber only, alas), which paints a slightly different picture of the Yankees’ aggressiveness. Looking at the first 10 rounds, BA found that the Yankees spent the 5th-most of any team as a percentage of the slot recommendations for their picks. The Yankees spent over $4 million on picks that were slotted for a total of around $2.4 million, so they spent about 175% of the slot recommendation.
The 4 teams ahead of the Yankees in this measure (KC, Seattle, Washington and Pittsburgh) all had high first-rounders who got huge overslot bonuses (Bubba Starling, Danny Hultzen, Anthony Rendon, and Gerrit Cole respectively). Washington and Pittsburgh notably spent big on their other early selections, including Matt Purke and Josh Bell. Despite Boston, Tampa, and Toronto blowing the Yankees away in total spending, their big totals were largely the result of having many more early picks than the Yankees rather than being exceptionally aggressive with the picks they had.
This does not mean that the Yankee front office couldn’t be more aggressive in terms of spending money in the draft. With the largest financial resources in the league, it is not unreasonable to expect them to be at the top of this list on a regular basis. That’s not to say that the Yankees should spend money just to spend it, but rather, they could be a little more aggressive in targeting supposedly unsignable guys (like Bell or Purke) and being willing to throw them a big bonus.
In this day and age, few guys actually seem unsignable, and the so-called “unsignables” seem to be using it more as leverage rather than an honest desire to stay in school. As more teams begin to realize that the Bells of the world can be signed at a price, they will go earlier and earlier in the draft, and the Yankees will have to act early if they don’t want to miss out.
There is another aspect of draft aggressiveness that the Yankees have lagged behind their divisional rivals in, and that is in the acquisition of extra picks. The Yankees are typically very conservative about offering arbitration to departing free agents, but considering how few players typically accept arbitration (which would lock them in for one year at an increased salary), the Yankees could do a better job about getting draft picks for free agents who leave.
This especially includes Type-B free agents, who don’t require the signing team to surrender a pick (and thus don’t have their leverage reduced by the Type-B designation). They could also use the waiver trading period to acquire players who will earn draft pick compensation as salary dumps, allowing them to stock up on extra picks. Toronto and Boston in particular have done very well acquiring de facto extra picks via trade, and the Yankees would do well to emulate their division rivals here.
Despite being a big proponent of the draft as a way to restock talent, I understand that the priorities of the big league club often will cause the Yankees to surrender a 1st-rounder (and even 2nd or 3rd rounders) to sign free agents. However, by acquiring extra picks and continuing to aggressively go over the slot recommendations, the Yankees can continue to develop a talent pipeline that will supplement their ability to bring in stars via free agency and trades. It would not make sense to call the Yankees out for being cheap in the draft (for some real examples of cheap, see the White Sox, who spent less than $2.8 million for the entire draft!). That’s not to say that the Yankees can’t do better than they have, but they have been fairly aggressive with the picks they had.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees