Lilly still an option for the Yanks?

The low expectations for A.J. Burnett
Jonathan Albaladejo's big chance
(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Yesterday it seemed as though the idea of acquiring Ted Lilly came and went. We learned that the Yankees won the waiver claim on Lilly, but also that the Dodgers pulled him back. That seemed like the end of it. The Yankees clearly had interest in re-acquiring Lilly for the stretch run, but the Dodgers apparently didn’t want to deal with just one team — if they wanted to deal with any teams at all. It’s a shame, since Lilly could have helped, but with the August 31 waiver trade deadline in the past, that notion is dead.

Or is it? According to a Daily News report, the Yankees think they can not only acquire Lilly, but also can add him to their postseason roster. This does strike me as a bit odd, because yesterday’s report indicated that the Dodgers pulled back Lilly from waivers. That means, as I understand it, that they can’t trade him without again exposing Lilly to waivers, at which point any team could claim him and the Dodgers could not again pull him back. But the Yankees, “believe there is a loophole that because they were awarded the claim before the first of the month, they could use Lilly on their postseason roster.”

This claim appears out of line with what we know about postseason eligibility rules. The general rule is that any player on the 25-man roster, disabled list, bereavement list, or suspended list can be added to a team’s roster in any round of the playoffs. For the Yankees that includes the 25 active guys plus Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, Alfredo Aceves, Lance Berkman, Nick Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez. If any of those players is still hurt come playoff time, the Yankees can substitute him for another player who was in their organization on August 31. Since Lilly can’t have been in the organization by that date, it seems that he would be ineligible for the postseason.

I did ask ESPN’s Keith Law about this. He’s not certain about the rule, but he doesn’t think such a loophole exists. He then asked a front office guy and got a similar response. Again, neither Law nor the front office guy is certain, but they both believe that the Yankees would not be able to pull off such a move. To be certain we’d probably have to leaf through the MLB rulebook, which is not available online (though if you’re a super geek you can find a copy on eBay). But from most indications the Yankees will not get their way here.

We’ve seen some strange things happen, and maybe the Yankees have done their homework and have found the loophole they need. Lilly would be a welcome addition to a staff that has hit something of a rough patch. But he’s not necessary, so it’s not the end of the world if theYankees can’t pull of this maneuver. It’s an interesting thought, but it looks like the Yanks will go to war with the guys they’ve got.

Glove slap to Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

The low expectations for A.J. Burnett
Jonathan Albaladejo's big chance
  • vin

    The ninja leaves no stone unturned.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I’d still take him even if he’s not postseason eligible. He’d be a nice arm for the September run, to take some innings workload off of CC/Hughes, let us ease Andy back in pressure-free*, skip Burnett/Vazquez at will, move Moseley back to the bullpen, or shut down Nova when he hits his cap.


    • Zanath

      I agree, even if we couldn’t use him in the playoffs, he would still be useful to help us get there. Still, I’m not sure if we can pull this off without all parts of this loophole being true. If they have to expose him to waivers again, I doubt we get this done.

    • T-Dubs

      completely agree.

    • bexarama

      Andy can ease back in any time he wants. Can’t guarantee a lack of pressure, though.

      /responding to the bait’d

      No, but I agree with everything you said here. I don’t think Ted Lilly’d be great, but he’d almost definitely be better than Moseley, and he’d allow us to do all the things you say.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Such a naughty cheerleader.

  • whozat

    and, frankly, he might help GET them to the postseason, so the deal might be worth it anyway

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Can’t hurt. And then they could offer him arbitration, as he should at least be a Type B free agent, and get a draft pick for him if they don’t resign him

  • kosmo

    I think NY is a day late and a dollar short.

    last report LA is still going for it.

    NY could´ve gone after Lilly at the trade deadline and didn´t instead they felt inclined to trade for Berkman which has so far proved to be a waste of time.

    • Ross in Jersey

      At the trade deadline, Burnett and Vazquez were pitching well, Hughes was lights out, and Andy was optimistic about returning ahead of schedule, and CC was doing fine. Why should they have gone for Lilly? Hindsight is 20/20.

      And what does the Berkman deal have to do with anything? It’s not like that would have stopped them from making other moves.

      • Steve H

        All of this.

        Oh, and there is zero guarantee that Lilly could succeed in the AL East and a good chance that he can’t.

        • Zack

          Not a fan of the 86.5 mph fastball?

          • Steve H

            Not so much.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      … instead they felt inclined to trade for Berkman which has so far proved to be a waste of time.

      That’s ridiculous.

      After an early adjustment period, Berkman has shown he still has great hitting ability and was contributing at the plate before getting injured. He’ll be back tonight and will be contributing again.

      Adding Berkman wasn’t a “waste of time”, it was a shrewd pickup that will help us immeasurably this October.

      • Tom Swift

        I agree with everything you say, but I would have said that he will help us measurably in October.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


      • kosmo

        I disagree.Their energies went into pursuing the wrong commodity.Pitching pitching pitching .NY knew about Hughes innings limits, Vasquez sudden diappearing acts , AJs meltdowns and Pettitte´ injury knowing that at the time it wouldn´t have required much to land Lilly.
        I hope Berkman contributes mightily to NYs cause but to speculate on how he will do or how much he will contribute I guess only those who carry around a crystal ball would know.

        • VO

          The same could be said about Lilly. Only those who carry around a crystal ball would know. Him in the AL East could be just as bad as AJ/Javy, who knows maybe even worse. Then while he is giving up 8 runs in an outing people would be complaining we didn’t get Berkman to help out the offense.

  • Ross in Jersey

    Not holding my breath, and I don’t think Lilly would fare that well in the AL east either. But, wouldn’t mind having another arm to take the pressure off the other guys.

  • j_Yankees

    Not sure about the whole ‘wanting him to be on the postseason roster’ thing. But i would be very welcome to getting him for this last month.

    • A.D.

      Exactly, rather have him for a month vs not at all.

      • CS Yankee

        We don’t really need him for the next 10 days of cake but could use him for the last brutal push going into October.

        However, we need to set and use our SP for the playoffs in those last two weeks. He could make the difference in winning the division, but could hurt getting the starters and relievers there position (Moseley cleans up after AJ, Mitre after Hughes, or whatever) in the pecking order.

        I’d pass.

        • CS Yankee

          err, wrong there (should be their).

        • j_Yankees

          i think you’r digging a little too deep.

          I don’t see how acquiring Lilly would mess up possible postseason plans in the bullpen or the rotation.

          If When Andy comes back you got you’re postseason starters. CC-Andy-AJ-Hughes. and you’ll pitch them in last couple of weeks to set up how you want it. That wouldn’t be effected by Lilly. and then the bullpen is what it is.

          • j_Yankees


            • Tom Swift


              • j_Yankees

                was correcting the you’re/your at the end but yeah the beginning was wrong aswell.

            • CS Yankee

              Affecting instead of effecting.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Yeah. When it’s time to line up the guys for the playoffs, you just let Lilly rot at the end of the bench. He’s not in our future plans, who gives a shit if his feelings get hurt.

            • CS Yankee

              1.5M$ or so to assume, in order to have him for a few starts…nah. We need that time to see which of the bottom 2-3 pitchers are postseason worthy and which ones will be available for tee times.

              Moseley, Gaudin, Mitre, Albie, etc can’t all make it, and we don’t exactly know which cream to skim from the top yet.

    • Mike HC

      Lilly is a better pitcher than Mitre, Gaudin, and Moseley, probably better than Nova, and possibly better than AJ and Javy. He is probably better than others I am forgetting as well. I think we would easily make the post season roster, and the Yanks definitely want him for the post season as well.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        The dude has a 4.30 FIP and prior to his lucky August he sported a 4.50 FIP. He’s league average.

        • Steve H

          In the NL.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Exactly. I wouldn’t mind getting him but a shitty Vazquez that might be dying as of late or a bad AJ is really not much worse than Lilly.

  • vin

    It all depends on the price. If its just a straight salary dump, or for an C prospect, then I’m all for it. Lilly is a FA after this season, and there’s no way they offer him arbitration (he’s making 12 mil this year).

    Fun fact:
    Ted Lilly is currently the 2nd highest paid Dodger. Kuroda is the highest paid @ 13 mil. Furcal is 3rd at 8.5 mil. Of course they’re spending over 16 million this year on players not with the team (Pierre, Andruw, Schmidt, etc.). What a mess for a once-great franchise.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      youre acting as if they’re the pirates. everyone is eulogizing them with this bs oh they were once great etc etc etc as if they are trash now. they have good young players and pitchers and if not for the divorce scandal leading to lack of funds they would be much better off and probably would have made very different moves. do they have bad contracts? yup. does every team? yup. this theme is starting to bother me

      • vin

        I think its a mess because it appears to be the tip of the iceberg. They do have good young players, but if they don’t have the cash to buy out their arbitration years, then they are going to have a tough time moving forward. Guys like Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Broxton, Billingsley are only going to get more expensive (Broxton, Kemp and Ethier are signed for next year though).

        Kemp has had problems with the front office. Torre will probably get re-signed, but the team hasn’t responded under him this year. This team is way too talented to be in 4th place.

        They had some especially bad contracts that they’re paying for now. Their payroll will need to increase, especially considering their upper levels of the farm system are not well-stocked.

      • CS Yankee

        True that, they won the West the last couple of years and have been steady. They have a solid farm system and will correct the money flow soon.

        16M of dead money for a LA team isn’t that bad, call Theo sometime and see how much dead money he is paying to former and current players.

        • vin

          The Sox are paying about 11 mill this year to former players. 9 of which going to Lugo.

          16 million is a lot to be doling out.

          I don’t want to go too far off-topic, so I’ll leave it at that.

        • Steve H

          call Theo sometime and see how much dead money he is paying to former and current players shortstops.

  • Mike HC

    I would like to add Lilly. Can’t hurt to add another arm, especially a lefty with the short porch in right. Obviously it depends on who we have to give up, but I doubt it would be much.

  • bexarama

    I’m incredibly distracted by Lilly’s eyebrows in that picture. They look like they were Sharpie’d on.

    Anyway, yeah. I dunno how well Lilly would do in the ALE at this point, but I can’t imagine he’d be a worse option to start than Moseley. Plus, it’d be kind of hilarious to see the Big Bad Evil Yankees take advantage of some loophole, just for the outrage.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Don’t worry, Mike Lupica already has a “The Yankees keep buying championships and baseball, freedom, honor, and the Civil Rights movement is the big loser in it all” article all queued up in the hopper.

      • Tom Zig

        Well at least they didn’t murder baseball history.

        • Steve H

          Only because A-Rod isn’t a True Yankee™©

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          you’re getting your starks and lupicas mixed up

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Meh. I don’t trust him in the East. I think he’ll be a bit better than Moseley. But if the Yanks want him it couldn’t really hurt. But of course it’s moot unless this loophole actually works.

  • Esteban Ochocinco

    I am one of those super geeks who has a copy of the official rules of major league baseball. It is the 2002 version with Mariano and Jorge on the cover. I believe though that the rulebook that is able to be bought like the one I have is for the actual playing of the game (along with some rules about eligibility for batting titles and things of that nature) rules and has nothing on postseason eligibility

  • BadaBling

    For like a month of the season
    Cash don’t need no Lily
    The way they been playin, must be illy
    Either that or Cano is silly
    It’s both
    I don’t mean to boast
    But damn if i don’t brag
    Them Rays gonna act like they ain’t on their ass
    The Brian Cashman
    That’s far from Beane
    Far from a community college student
    Just had the balls to do it
    And no I’m not through with it
    In fact I’m just previewing it
    This is The Show I’m just waiver wireing it
    One, Two strikes and i won’t stop abusing it
    To Yankee haters stop false accusing it
    Back to the music
    The SafeCo roof ain’t translucent
    People got a problem with that trade with Houston
    What up Cash
    They can’t shut up me
    Shut down I
    Even without A-Rod
    I’mma ride
    God forgive AJs for his brash deivery
    But i remember vivily
    What these 2004 did to me
    So picture me
    Lettin these Soxs Fans nit pick at me
    Paint me like a PinStripe tee
    I will literally
    Kiss Mo on the forehead
    Tell him please forgive me


  • Zooboy

    Isn’t “loophole” a tad redundant? And “loop” and “hole” kind of mean the same thing, no?

    • Steve H

      Great point. I think the RABbi’s should re-write the English language to exclude loophole from the dictionary.

      • VO

        That’s where the money they make from the “Donate” button goes.

        • jsbrendog (returns)


    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      And “loop” and “hole” kind of mean the same thing, no?


      No, they don’t.

  • Yank the Frank

    From ESPN

    NEW YORK — Ted Lilly will not be making his second tour of duty with the New York Yankees after all.

    A source confirmed Wednesday morning that although the Yankees had been awarded a claim on the left-hander Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers informed the Yankees they had no intention of trading Lilly, believing they still have a shot at the NL wild card.

    Currently, the Dodgers are fifth in the NL wild-card standings, 6½ games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

    “They’re going for it,” the source said. “They put [Hiroki] Kuroda on the wire, too, and didn’t move him either.”

    Lilly, 8-9 overall with a 3.59 ERA, has gone 5-1 since the Dodgers acquired him from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. Lilly, 34, pitched for the Yankees from 2000 to 2002.

    Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for Follow him on Twitter.

    • rbizzler

      You should have bolded ‘Wallace Matthews’ so everyone knows not to take this report seriously.

      No worries, though.