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Ben Sheets and the New York Yankees

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Not that anyone needs a reason to hate the Yankees, mind you, but the possibility is there for New York to make our lives much worse.

It looks like that Andy Pettitte has rejected the Yankees' offer to bring him back into the fold, turning down a one-year, $10 million offer.  Why do we care?  Because, one presumes, if Pettitte and the Yankees don't come to terms, then the Yankees are back in the mix to acquire a front-line pitcher.  Right now, only Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets are left on the market as freely available #1 pitchers (apologies to Oliver Perez). 

Of those two, I'd assume the Yankees would be more interested in Sheets, as he would presumably be cheaper than Lowe by far. Plus, it was only a few weeks ago that the Yankees were rumored to be close to offering Sheets a two-year deal for $30 million. Given a cooling market, it looks like Sheets could be had for significantly less.

If you think we were shafted by getting a second rounder for CC Sabathia, imagine getting a fourth round pick for Sheets.  (AJ Burnett ranked higher than Sheets, so the Blue Jays would get the Yankees' third round pick.) 

What's interesting is that the more Type A free agents the Yankees sign in one offseason, the cheaper it is for them.  We know that a team can sign up to nine Type A/Type B free agents, and for each Type A signing, they lose their top available draft pick (excluding the 1st round pick they might get for not signing their 2008 1st round draft pick).  Yankees sign the top FA available?  They lose their first round pick.  They sign the top two FAs available?  They lose their 1st and 2nd round picks (which is why we really really didn't want the Yankees to sign Teixeira, as it significantly lessens our compensation for CC). If the Yankees signed 9 Type A free agents, then one team would get the Yankees' 9th round draft pick in compensation for losing one of their best players.  Although it's not an exact comparison, it vaguely feels like trading a player like Sheets to the Yankees for their ninth-round pick, when a trade with any other team would net their first- or second-round pick.

Of course, to be fair, we would also get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds---a benefit that gets diluted when all of the Type A free agents sign and our supplemental pick gets pushed back in the list.  Also, to be fair, it's not that the Yankees are gaming the system, really ---  they're certainly playing within the rules.  It's just the the rules weren't made with the Yankees' enormous payroll in mind, and your Milwaukee Brewers may end up paying the price.