Friday, July 26, 2013

0 comments Bleacher Report Puts "Yasiel Puig" and "Yankees" in the Title of a Column to Get Pageviews

Bleacher Report often has some useless articles posted on the site. This article for today is probably one of the most useless articles I have read on the site in a while. This article exists mainly for pageviews. The author says signing Yasiel Puig and other international players would have helped the Yankees. Of course Puig would have helped nearly every MLB team, but the author puts "Yasiel Puig" and "Yankees" in the title because that's what the Bleacher Report algorithm says will lead to the most hits and that's all some Bleacher Report writers care about. People will search for "Yasiel Puig" and then there is a Bleacher Report article they can read. It's like if I put "Bill Simmons" in the column title of my posts as much as possible. The author says the Yankees would be so much better (or "recharged" as he writes) if the Yankees had signed every foreign free agent over the last few years. Of course this isn't true for just the Yankees, but it's better to type "Yankees" in a column title for the obvious reasons of trolling for pageviews. So let's use some hindsight to find out how signing Puig and Yu Darvish would have helped the Yankees/every other MLB team.

And if you have any doubt pageviews is all that matters to Bleacher Report and their writers, then notice the author's bio where he brags about his number of pageviews. Bragging about pageviews tells me enough about the author and Bleacher Report's mission. They are confusing pageviews with quality content.

The Yankees upcoming nine-game homestand features games against the Dodgers and Rangers, who feature two of the top recent international imports in baseball in Yasiel Puig and Yu Darvish, as a recent ESPN article pointed out.

What do you know? Bleacher Report links another sports site's article as part of their original content. It's much like how you will see "Prominent athlete arrested" on Bleacher Report's site and then you click on the link and it goes to another sports site. I get that even when writing original content a sports site may end having to link another site's original content, but it seems like a lot of Bleacher Report's original content is piggybacking off another site's content. Remember that trade deadline article from last year? Nearly every trade deadline idea was taken from a suggested trade deadline idea Buster Olney had written about in a column.

It's all hypothetical at this point, but one can't help but wonder where the Yankees would be right now not with those guys on their roster.

One can't help but wonder where every MLB team might be right now if they had Darvish and Puig on their roster. One might also wonder how some MLB teams could afford to pay for both Darvish and Puig as well.

I like how the author writes "it's all hypothetical at this point" like he is resigned to the fact the Yankees can't sign every foreign free agent that comes available on the market.

"It's all hypothetical at this point, but one can't help but wonder if the Rays should have drafted the most successful player out of the last 10 MLB drafts."

This is what is called "rosterbating."

For that matter, if they had been more aggressive on the international market in general in recent years.

Here's the thing, the Yankees were more aggressive on the international market previous to this year and it didn't work out for them. Fans and columnists complained the team was expensive and old when the Yankees spent money on international players. So the Yankees try to not spend big money on posting fees and contracts for international free agents and fans and sportswriters complain the Yankees didn't have their ear to the market. It's simply a case of whatever ends up working, the Yankees should have done that.

Top prospect Gary Sanchez was signed out of the Dominican Republic, but for the most part the Yankees have stayed away from high-priced, big league ready international talent the past two years and they've missed out.

"but for the most part many MLB teams have stayed away from high-priced, big league ready international talent the past two years and they've missed out."

There, I fixed it. Most MLB teams have missed out on the high-priced international talent over the last two years. The Yankees aren't the only team to have missed out. The Yankees management has also made it clear they are trying to control payroll more, so that's probably part of the reason they missed out on this international talent.

Last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and while there was a question as to how quickly he could make an impact in the big leagues,

Which given the fact Cespedes was signed for four years at $9 million per year, you could see why some teams didn't choose to try and sign Cesepedes. Cespedes' agent was demanding a lot of money for a player that many teams had not had an opportunity to see play. There were questions on whether Cesepedes could adapt to American life, American baseball and whether he was worth $9 million per year. Not to mention, where exactly in their outfield were the Yankees going to put Cespedes? Were they going to trade Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, or Nick Swisher in the hopes Cespedes could make an immediate impact in the most media-saturated market in the United States? Let's not forget Cespedes only played in 127 games last year and missed half of April this year, so he's not shown himself to be the most durable of players over his first two years in the majors.

Basically, to sign Cespedes the Yankees would have had to make a trade and then hope a Cuban-born player can adjust to the majors and American life in the toughest baseball market to do so. That's a lot of legwork and roster movement of proven players to sign a relatively unknown Cuban free agent who wants almost $10 million per year.

In another lower-cost signing, the Brewers added outfielder Norichika Aoki on a two-year, $2.5 million deal with the plan of making him the team's fourth outfielder.

Instead, the 30-year-old ended up seeing 520 at-bats and hit .288/.355/.433 with 10 home runs and 30 steals as an everyday player.

Yes, Aoki has played well. Why is the failure to sign Aoki only on the Yankees? Every other MLB team failed to sign him as well. That's what is so frustrating about this article, that everything the author says goes for the Yankees could go for most MLB teams.

When June rolled around, Cuban defectors Yasiel Puig (seven-year, $42 million) and Jorge Soler (nine-year, $30 million) both signed long-term deals with the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively.

Again, the Yankees claim to be wanting to cut payroll, not add payroll. I realize we are talking about the Yankees here, but a lot of teams would have benefited from signing these two players.

Puig has been the talk of baseball since being called up,

Jeff Francouer tore up baseball when he first got called up to the majors. Let's give Puig more time and see how he does when pitchers adjust to him.

while Soler looks like a future star down the line for the Cubs.

Soler is currently in high A-ball. He looks good. I don't know why the Yankees are the only team who made a mistake not signing him.

It's not just been position players that the Yankees have been missing out on in the international market though, as a handful of pitchers have made an immediate impact as well.

Why not just make a list of every draft pick that panned out in every round of the MLB Draft over the last 10 years and write a column about how the Yankees should have drafted these players? If you are going to use hindsight, go all out I say.

In Seattle, the Mariners took a chance on right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma with a one-year, $1 million deal. After opening the season in the bullpen, he moved to the rotation in the second half and went 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA over 16 starts.

The Yankees can't sign literally every international free agent available.

The Orioles signed Wei-Yin Chen to a three-year, $11.388 million deal out of Japan, and the Taiwanese-born left-hander was the Orioles most reliable starter going 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA over 32 starts.

Chen's last start was May 12 before he went on the DL. He came off the DL in July, after almost missing two months.

The real splash signing on the international market over the past two offseasons though has been the Rangers' signing of Yu Darvish.

You mean the guy who cost $100 million (contract plus posting fee) to sign? Yeah, why didn't the Yankees spend $100 million on an international pitcher? It's not like they have been open about wanting to cut payroll or anything. Why not spend $10 million per year on Darvish plus the posting fee of $50 million? After all, it's not like the Yankees are looking to get rid of bloated contracts so they can re-sign that All-Star middle-of-the-order currently on their roster. I know pleading poverty for why the Yankees don't sign international players sounds stupid, but the Yankees have stayed out of the international market and maybe they will reconsider this. It's just silly to go back and use hindsight to point out all the international players the Yankees should have signed.

It cost Texas a $51.7 million posting fee to negotiate with the right-hander, and they then signed him to a six-year, $56 million deal.

And prior to Darvish paying this posting fee and then giving a large contract to a Japanese pitcher had not worked out for teams. Look at Kenshin Kawakami (there was no posting fee for him, but he got a large contract), Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Kei Igawa. So it made sense to the Yankees that spending $100 million on a Japanese pitcher may not be the best utilization of their financial resources.

Perhaps it was the flop signing of Hideki Irabu to a four-year, $12.8 million deal back in 1997 that has turned the Yankees off of the international market.

Or the signing of Kei Igawa or the Red Sox signing of Matsuzaka or the realization that sometimes you are simply paying too much money for a player who has yet to perform at the major league level...

Or maybe it was watching the Red Sox throw down so much money on the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka, only to see him struggle.

Exactly. That's part of it too. Obviously the Yankees shouldn't be gun-shy about going after an international player they believe in, but it's nonsense to write an entire column using hindsight to list all of the international players the Yankees should have signed. The fact the author has to use hindsight only further shows how ridiculous it is to second-guess any MLB team for not signing these international players. The author didn't write a column like this two years ago, because he had no idea if these international players could succeed in the majors or not. That's the point of why hindsight is silly. Who knew Aoki could be a starter-quality outfielder? Who knew $100 million for Darvish wouldn't seem silly? It could have easily swung the other way for these international players. These guys are essentially unknowns to many of these MLB teams, so it's hard to criticize them for not sinking millions into signing these unknowns. Hindsight always knows best.

Whatever their reservations stem from, given the current state of the franchise and the impressive flow of international talent over the past two seasons, it's probably time the Yankees get back to work on the foreign market.

Yeah right, wait until there have been international success stories which could result in the international market and players being overvalued. That's when the Yankees want to dip their toe back in the international player waters, after there have been several successful international players and these players may begin to become more overvalued. As teams see the success of international players, the agents of these international players may commend higher salaries.

If only the Yankees (and every other MLB team) could predict the future to know they should have signed these players. We are all so much smarter when our knowledge is based on hindsight.