Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Isn't it Grand(erson)

From our corner of New York, it often seems like teams are all to willing to hand their star players over to the Yankees for practically nothing. And from that perspective, the initial reaction today was that the Yankees acquired one of the best center fielders in baseball for a package led by a prospect who had 4 homers and 123 strikeouts in AAA.

Once we calm down, we'll probably come to the conclusion that this is in fact a very good deal for the Yankees, but totally understandable from the Tigers perspective because of the different economic positions of the teams. Granderson is a very good player, but probably not nearly as good as we thought he was a year ago. He's probably a 3.5-4 win above replacement player, worth about $15 million on the open market. He's due about $24 million over the next 3 years (with a $13mm team option in 2013), so the Yanks are getting about $20 million of excess value over what they'll have to pay Granderson. Are they giving up $20 million worth of talent? Probably. I know Ian Kennedy seems like a failed prospect, but he came back healthy in the Arizona Fall League and there's still a decent chance he'll be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter. Austin Jackson will likely be a solid everyday player, but because he doesn't hit for power and strikes out a lot, it's hard to imagine much more. The odds of any of these guys turning into a player as good as Granderson are very, very slim. On the other hand, there's a lot of value in having an average starting pitcher and an average center fielder for 6 seasons at extremely discounted prices.

I think it's a great deal for the Yanks. They upgraded at one of the few positions they were able to with a young, fairly cheap player. They didn't give up anyone who figured prominently in their future plans. Unlike most teams, the Yankees don't have much use for a young, cheap, average player. So, it doesn't make sense for them to hold onto players like Jackson and Kennedy.

I think the Tigers are doing pretty well in the deal, too. Jackson will be practically free for his first three seasons, and will probably be an average everyday player. They also managed to pick up a great young pitcher in Max Scherzer.

This is a NY blog, so I won't focus too much on the Tigers-DBacks part of the swap. But I don't understand this deal from Arizona's perspective at all. Scherzer is probably at least as good a pitcher as Edwin Jackson and he's much cheaper.

From the department of things that make you go hmmmmm: the Yankees traded Brian Bruney for the rights to the first pick in the Rule 5 draft.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, Online Advertising, the Decline of Newspapers, and the General Future of Media Encapsulated in One Pathetic Banner Ad

As newspapers continue their self-imposed march to the grave, Rupert Murdoch, who, whatever you may think of him, deserves our respect for his agressive belief in newspapers, has announced tentative plans to move begin charging for access to the vast array of international newspapers in his News Corp Empire, including the New York Post, the Australian and the Times (UK). His recently-acquired Wall Street Journal already charges for online access to its content. News Corp may also strike an exclusive deal with Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, whereby surfers would not be able to use Google or Google News to search for News Corp content.

It's a bold gamble. But it's a gamble predicated in a belief that good content is still valuable. And it's an idea better than whatever else has been proposed by other newspapers, because they haven't come up with any. Well, except for the still-in-development Google Fast Flip, which promises to replicate the actual experience of reading a newspaper i.e. turning the pages and coming across articles that you may not have read if you just scanned headlines on a news website all in a graphically-pleasing, fast-loading format. The question is if anyone even wants to read news in a traditional-manner any more. Certainly, banner ads and web-ads in general would be more effective if they were presented as part of a graphically-pleasing whole, rather than as afterthought add-ons to already clunky news pages.

Because that is the current model, and the current model is not working, as evidenced by this pathetic banner ad that accompanied my surfing of the nypost.com site this morning.
This man does not own a home. Also, sugar cubes do not turn teeth white.