New York Yankees: Ranking the Yankees Players by Cost

Phillip BrownSenior Analyst IINovember 29, 2011

New York Yankees: Ranking the Yankees Players by Cost

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    The New York Yankees are known for being a team that overpays older players via free agency, but they also have younger players who are still in arbitration and cheap bargain deals to fill out the roster.

    The Yankees' $207 million payroll is mainly filled up by players like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, but are these players really worth it?

    Or are cheaper players like Ivan Nova and David Robertson more valuable for their salary?

    Let's find out. 

25. Pedro Feliciano: $4 Million

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    Why is this a picture of Pedro Feliciano in a Mets jersey?

    Because I couldn't find one of him in a Yankees jersey. He has yet to throw a pitch as a Yankee.

    I think that is all the explanation needed.

24. AJ Burnett: $16.5 Million

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    This is another obvious one. AJ Burnett is getting paid $16.5 million to record a 5.15 ERA.

    Burnett has some of the best arm and stuff you will ever see, but he is a headcase and cannot focus on the task at hand.

    He is the most frustrating player on the Yankees roster because some games he looks like an ace (see Game 2 of the 2009 World Series and Game 4 of the 2011 ALDS), while in others, he looks like a Little Leaguer.

    Bottom line is AJ Burnett cannot be trusted in must-win games.

23. Rafael Soriano: $11 Million

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    Rafael Soriano was signed by the Yankees—despite protest from general manager Brian Cashman—to be their eighth-inning man and eventual successor to Mariano Rivera.

    A 4.12E RA is not worth his three-year, $35 million contract, but there is some good news, as Soriano had a 2.75 ERA since May 1st.

    Despite this Soriano needs to show he can be a shutdown relief pitcher in order to justify his contract.

22. Alex Rodriguez: $30 Million

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    Alex Rodriguez is a very good player, but nobody is worth $30 million a season, especially not 36-year-olds with a surgically repaired knee.

    Rodriguez is still a very good fielder and is one of the best hitters of all time, but he is declining with age.

    Historically, Rodriguez has been very disappointing in the postseason, minus 2009, but he has been an excellent regular season player, and if he recovers from his knee injury I expect him to remain a very good player.

21. Phil Hughes: $2.7 Million

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    Phil Hughes has been very disappointing.

    It has not been completely his fault because injuries and being shuffled back and forth between the bullpen and rotation may have ruined his arm, but he has been disappointing nonetheless.

    You may point at his 18-win season in 2010, but he posted a 4.19 ERA that year. His best season was in '09 when he posted a 3.09 ERA in the bullpen, which is where I think he belongs.

    Phil Hughes looked impressive this past September but he is not worth his contract and yet to fulfill his potential.

20. Francisco Cervelli: $480,000

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    Francisco Cervelli was having a very good season in 2011 before concussions prematurely ended it.

    Cervelli would be much higher if the Yankees did not have as much catching depth.

    Cervelli is a spark for the Yankees, both on offense and defense, but he is not very valuable as the Yankees' third catcher.

19. Hector Noesi: $480,000

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    Hector Noesi has the potential to be in the Yankees rotation, but he had a disappointing 2011 season.

    Noesi appears to have a bright future ahead and could become a good bullpen arm and spot starter.

    If he disappoints for another season, however, the Yankees would have wasted less than half a million dollars. Noesi is a low risk, high reward player and is well worth his contract.

18. Austin Romine: $480,000

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    Austin Romine is a backup catcher who has a decent bat and great glove behind the plate.

    Romine has a bright future in New York, at least until Gary Sanchez arrives, and at less than half a million dollars, Romine is well worth the money.

    The main reason I like Romine is because if Russell Martin goes down with an injury, I trust him behind the plate with AJ Burnett's erratic arm on the mound.

17. Boone Logan: $1.2 Million

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    Boone Logan's 3.46 ERA and 1.34 WHIP do not seem impressive, especially at $1.2 million, but the reason he is so high on this list is because he is the Yankees' only lefty in the bullpen.

    Every major league bullpen needs a lefty but Logan's job is to get out lefties and he just does not.

    Logan has a .260 BAA and .789 OPS against left-handed batters, but has a .262 BAA and .673 OPS against right-handed batters. He is just as good, if not better against right-handed batters compared to lefties.

    Despite this, if Adrian Gonzalez steps up to the plate and I could choose any Yankee from the bullpen  (minus Rivera and Robertson), I want Boone Logan.

16. Cory Wade: $480,000

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    Cory Wade was picked up by the Yankees midseason and was a staple in the bullpen for the rest of the season.

    Wade recorded a 2.04 ERA and 1.03 WHIP for only a minor league contract.

    Wade may be remembered for giving up the game-tying pinch-hit home run to Dan Johnson to send the game to extras in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Tampa Rays on the crazy last day of the regular season, but he was also a very good bullpen arm—especially for the price.

15. Joba Chamberlain: $1.4 Million

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    Joba Chamberlain has disappointed, as he was a top prospect and was supposed to be a frontline starter.

    Despite this Chamberlain posted a 2.60 ERA in 100.1 innings in 2008 and then posted a 2.83 ERA in 2011 before he tore his UCL in his elbow.

    If he can comeback from Tommy John Surgery—85 percent do fully recover—he should be worth his $1.4 million contract, especially if he can reach his potential, even if it is only in the bullpen.

14. Eduardo Nunez: $480,000

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    Eduardo Nunez can play every position on the field except pitcher, catcher and first base. Nunez also has a very good bat and at his age he will only get better.

    Nunez's defense may be subpar to say the least, but after a year in New York I think he will improve enough and allow his bat do the talking.

    He is most important because he can spell Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter so they can rest and play DH.

    Eventually Eduardo Nunez may take over for Jeter at shortstop, but right now he is a very cheap way to let the Yankees' aging stars rest.

13. Mark Teixeira: $23.125 Million

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    Mark Teixeira is an All-Star first baseman with a power bat and a golden glove, but his ever-falling batting average and expensive contract keep him from the top of this list.

    Mark Teixeira's batting average has dropped from .308 in 2008, to .292 in 2009, to .256 in 2010, and to .248 in 2011.

    That is unacceptable. If Teixeira wants to earn his $23 million contract, he has to raise his batting average to at least .280.

    Teixeira does have great power—39 home runs and 111 RBI is fantastic. These power numbers and four Gold Gloves make him one of the best first basemen in the majors, but it is not enough to sneak into the top 10 on this list.

12. Freddy Garcia: $4 Million

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    Freddy Garcia just signed a new one-year deal with the Yankees that is reportedly for $4 to $5 million.

    If Freddy Garcia can come close to his 3.62 ERA from 2011, then he will be well worth his contract. Garcia may have a mid-80s fastball, but he has pinpoint location and gets it done, even in New York.

    For $4 million with the Yankees rotation the way it is, I think Freddy Garcia is good value.

11. Jesus Montero: $480,000

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    If Jesus Montero can keep up his numbers from his short stint in New York in 2011, then he would be much higher on this list. But until I see more of him, he will have to settle for No. 11.

    Montero has incredible power and can hit .320. He may not have a position yet, but even as a DH he will be well worth his contract as long as he can hit.

    He will not play 150-plus games because Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will take advantage of the DH slot for rest, but Montero should still bat .300 with about 20 home runs and 80 RBI

    For the league minimum Jesus Montero should be a steal in 2012.

10. Derek Jeter: $16 Million

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    Derek Jeter's on-field performance may not be worth $16 million, though he did hit .297, hit leadoff, and played a premium position in shortstop, but his leadership is invaluable.

    I am going to leave it at that. Derek Jeter is worth it.

9. Nick Swisher: $10.25 Million

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    Nick Swisher has been in the middle of trade rumors over the last few weeks, but as of right now, he is a New York Yankee and at $10.25 million he is a bargain.

    Swisher led the Yankees with a .374 on-base percentage, hit 23 home runs, and is still a good fielder in right field.

    Beyond his on-field performances, Nick Swisher is a great presence in the locker room, which is very important when you have egos like Alex Rodriguez and AJ Burnett to deal with.

8. Mariano Rivera: $15 Million

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    Mariano Rivera had an ERA under two, a WHIP under one, and over 40 saves once again. Rivera also recorded his record-breaking 602nd save against the Minnesota Twins on September 19th.

    The 2012 season will probably be his last season in the majors, but for the time being he will be in pinstripes, and once again he will be one of the best closers in the majors, even at 42 years of age.

    Fifteen million may be a lot for a relief pitcher, but I trust Mariano Rivera more than any other pitcher in the majors when it matter most—the World Series.

7. Russell Martin: $4 Million

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    Russell Martin made $4 million in 2011 and will make a similar amount of money via arbitration in 2012. For that money the Yankees got a decent bat with good power and an excellent glove behind the plate.

    I cannot tell you how many times I saw AJ Burnett or Phil Hughes throw the ball in the dirt pitch after pitch, and Martin blocked them no matter how bad or tricky the bounce.

    Russell Martin looked like a Gold Glove behind the plate, but he did not throw out as many base-stealers as the voters would have liked.

6. CC Sabathia: $23 Million

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    CC Sabathia is the highest paid pitcher in the majors, so how is he cost-efficient?

    Sabathia has won 59 games and posted a 3.17 ERA in his first three seasons in New York despite the pressure and hitters' ballpark.

    He is also a perennial Cy Young contender and even posted a 2.55 ERA in his first 24 starts before Joe Girardi created a six-man rotation (thereby ruining Sabathia's rhythm and timing).

    Sabathia is worth it because he is the only Yankees starting pitcher I trust wholeheartedly in a must-win game.

5. David Robertson: $480,000

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    David Robertson was the best reliever in the majors in 2011, and at less than half a million dollars, he is an absolute steal.

    Robertson is the heir apparent of Mariano Rivera, and after last season, he it looks like he is up to the job.

    A 1.08 ERA and 100 strikeouts over 66.2 innings is incredible, but he was also cool under pressure.

    Robertson posted a 0.25 ERA on the road and struck out 14 out of 19 batters he faced with the bases loaded, giving up zero runs on those occasions.

4. Brett Gardner: $549,000

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    Brett Gardner stole 49 bases and should have won a Gold Glove last year.

    Yes, he had a low batting average and not much power, but he did his job; he drew a bunch of walks, played excellent defense, and was a menace on the basepaths.

    For a hair over half a million dollars Brett Gardner was a huge bargain not only last year, but will be for years to come.

3. Ivan Nova: $480,000

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    Where would the New York Yankees be without Ivan Nova?

    At the beginning of the season the Yankees rotation consisted of CC Sabathia and four question marks.

    Phil Hughes failed while Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia struggled down the stretch, but Ivan Nova created a dynamic duo atop the Yankees rotation.

    In only his first full season in the majors the 24-year-old righty went 8-0 and posted a 3.18 ERA after the All-Star break when the Yankees needed him most.

    Nova will again be a bargain in 2012 if he can even come close to his performance last year, which I believe he is more than capable of.

2. Robinson Cano: $14 Million

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    Robinson Cano is the heart and soul in the Yankees lineup and on the defensive side of the ball as well.

    Cano plays Gold Glove defense and is a Silver Slugger; what more do you want for $14 million?

    To add onto that he also had a huge postseason by hitting .318 with a 1.057 OPS, two home runs and nine RBI in only five games against the Detroit Tigers.

    Robinson Cano is the best middle infielder in the game and at only $14 million, he is a bargain.

1. Curtis Granderson: $10 Million

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    Curtis Granderson was a MVP candidate with a $10 million salary.

    Granderson hit 41 home runs, drove in 119 runs, scored 136 runs, hit 10 triples and stole 25 bases for his salary.

    This is not the Tampa Bay Rays who find young breakout players for pennies seemingly on a yearly basis, but it seems as if the Yankees have to pay tens of millions of dollars for MVP-type seasons.

    While $10 million is not cheap, it is for an MVP candidate and it is for the Yankees.