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Who Would You Amnesty?

By Mike Silva ~ December 9th, 2011. Filed under: Business of Sports.

I think we have done this exercise before, but in the spirit of the NBA being officially back, let’s do it again.

The new CBA ratified by the owners and NBA players includes an amnesty clause. In short, teams can waive a player of their choice and stretch the payments out over twice the life of the remaining contract plus one. For example, if you release a player with two years and $20 million left on his deal, you could stretch the cap hit over five seasons.

The lack of activity of both local teams at the Dallas Winter Meetings was mainly due to their payroll situation. The Yankees want to remain below the $189 million dollar luxury tax threshold to reap the benefits of a $40 million dollar revenue sharing bonus. If $189 million is the payroll number, then my calculations give the Yankees about $5 million dollars to spend this coming season.

The Mets situation is more onerous. Ownership has cut the payroll from $149 million in 2009, to around $100 million this year. That is only $1 million less than their 2006 payroll (the last time they made the playoffs), but two players - Jason Bay and Johan Santana- make up 40% of the total pie.

In our pretend world let’s say MLB negotiated a similar amnesty in their latest CBA. Who would you like to see the Yankees and Mets cut to provide flexibility? Personally, I think the Mets choice is easy, as Johan Santana is due $55 million the next two years. Coming off a career-threatening shoulder surgery makes it an easy decision over Jason Bay (2 years/$35 million), mainly because of the health risk.

Under the NBA rules the Mets could spread Santana’s payments out over 5 years, which comes out to $11 million per year. That would save them an additional $13 million dollars this offseason, enough money to acquire another starting pitcher or to make a more competitive bid on Jose Reyes.

The Yankees is not quite as clear-cut. Both Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett are candidates, but do you cut A-Rod just because he has another 6 years and another $143 million? If healthy, he still can provide 30 HRs and 100 RBI, and you do have the DH spot to provide him with a soft landing. There is also the historical aspect of A-Rod, as each home run milestone is another opportunity to market him off the field for profit.

A-Rod could have his payments stretched out over 13 years. That would add another $18 million dollars this offseason to sign Yu Darvish or perhaps make a run at Prince Fielder. Burnett would be a more modest savings, as his contract runs only 2-years for $33 million. That would give them an additional $10 million dollars, probably enough to make a run at Darvish, but not nearly as lucrative as Rodriguez.

In the end, I non-tender A-Rod, use the money to bring in a pitcher and third basemen (Aramis Ramirez?), and move away from Hank Steinbrenner’s boorish 2007 mistake.

Let’s hear what you think. Who would you amnesty? Remember, it’s a one-shot deal for the entire life of the CBA, so you don’t get a mulligan. Choose carefully.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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13 Responses to Who Would You Amnesty?

  1. Stu B

    With Teixeira at 1B and all their older hitters who need days off from the field as DH, the Yankees have no need or spot for Fielder.

  2. NCMetFan

    The Bay analysis doesn’t account for his easily achievable 17 million dollar option so his total cost is really 49 million as compared to Santana’s 56 million. This makes it less of a delta to the extend I would roll the dice on a once elite pitcheradapting his pitching approach enough to be good as opposed to Bay finding it at the palte enough to be irreplaceable for the 10 million a year he would free up.

  3. Russ Cress

    When the Marlins didn’t get Pujols, my first thought was that Cash should call them while they are emotional and have money burning a hole in their pocket and try and trade them A-Rod. They need a 3B, and a marketable star and just think Mr. Loria….this one is from Miami!

    I wouldn’t even care who the Yankees got back as long as Miami took A-Rod’s contract off of our hands. As far as the hurdle of his 10-5 rights goes, I sell him on “going home” to finish his career and the Marlins offer to name him Captain (playing off of his Jeter inferiority complex that he has for mystery reasons) and make him the face of the franchise going forward which he’d never be in NY.

    I wouldn’t even sign Aramis if that happened. I’d simply turn over 3B to Nunez and let the kid fly. He looks like he’s going to be a tremendous offensive player who steals a lot of bases and the idea of he and Gardner hitting 9-1 with Jeter #2 would put so many guys on base for Cano, that his numbers would be scary. The return of the Bronx Burners, Baby! Except not quite because you make up for the power loss by letting Montero DH. If both are who we think they are, this move would make them MUCH better in the long term with the payroll flexibility to adjust if needed. Plus the 189/2014 Plan would be no problem.

    Make the call Cash….make the call, after all, it can’t hurt to ask.

  4. Stu B

    But Russ, the Marlins are moving Hanley Ramirez to 3B, so no soap.

  5. Frank Russo


    FYI, the Yankees do not feel that Nunez can be an effective “everyday” 3rd baseman. He does not field the position well enough, is out of position a lot of the time, plus his arm is very erratic. He might be able to hit, but his fielding does not cut it at the Hot Corner. That is why the Yankees are trying to bring Eric Chavez back. He can still hit and plays the position flawlessly, unlike Nunez.

  6. Frank Russo


    There are heavy rumors circulating that the Marlins are going to move Hanley, because he does not want to play 3rd. This is one of those situations where everythng will have to play out. Also, Marlins are not going to take on ARod’s contract. It’s an albatross!

  7. Chuck

    If the Yankees sign the Japanese guy, Nishiwhacka or whatever his name is, Nunez is out of a job anyway.

  8. Frank Russo


    I think Nishiwhacka is actually a Japanese porn actress..!!

  9. Piazza

    I think to be a marketable star you have to not suck first.

  10. Russ Cress

    I don’t think the Yankees are signing the Japanese guy. Oh, and Stu, the Marlins also have the option of moving Hanley to CF. Many think he’d be better in that spot than 3B.

    As far as Nunez goes in this scenario, I totally think he’s a hitter but realize they’d need something of a safety net behind him. They could take Coghlan back in return or call the rebuilding White Sox and take a flyer on Gordon Beckham, who they’d move for one of the Yankees young pitchers, perhaps a David Phelps type.

    Again, this is just a goofy out of the box idea, but I think Cash should make the call. Maybe the Marlins can be talked into it, they seem to be in an emotional state and have the money burning a hole in their pocket. It’s wishful thinking on my part since I’d love to unload that contract but hey, it’s a fun scenario to kick around and there is a line of logic there that could make it work. I honestly think that the Marlins are the only team that there is even a chance of trading A-Rod to, even if it’s a slim chance.

  11. Stu B

    Stop kidding yourself. A-Roid and that contract are untradeable and the Yankees are stuck with it, unless, I suppose, they pay 80-90% of it. Tough noogies.

  12. Frank Russo


    Wasn’t there a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers nicknamed “Tough Noogies”? Seriously, your spot on with the ARod contract. The only way he gets traded is if the Yanks eat the majority of the salary.

    and Russ,

    Just a quick note on Gordon Beckham and the White Sox. One of the reasons why the “Pale Hoes” are so difficult to trade with is because Kenny Williams and their upper managment never know quite what direction they are going in. Ozzie became very frustrated with Williams near the end because of some of the decisions he made. Think Alex Rios and Adam Dunn as the prime examples. As for Beckham, Cashman would have to give up alot. If Williams demaded both Manny B. and Montero for Danks, then you would have to assume that he would want more than a young minor league pitcher for Beckham, his teams starting 2nd baseman. I just don’t see a fit here.

  13. MBN

    IMO, A-Rod would be the guy to amnesty. Too bad there was no such clause in the new CBA. Would have been interesting to see what other teams do. Angels with Wells, for example.

    I think the Mets would let Bay go, and make a play for Beltran. or, like noted in the article, offer a bit more for Reyes.

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