Nov
21

A-Rod, Tanaka, and even Cano handcuffing Yankees’ offseason

By
(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Last offseason, the Yankees reportedly took the rather unique path of creating a list of needs and going down the list in order, one by one. First was pitching, second was adding an outfielder, then third was filling out the margins of the roster. They didn’t waver from that strategy at all. It was weird because usually you’d expect a team to multi-task, not miss out on a player because he was further down on the list than something else.

This winter, it does not appear the Yankees are working that way. They aren’t handcuffing themselves like that. Instead, they’re being handcuffed by other factors around the game and in free agency, things outside of their control. That is much worse than sticking to list and going one by one, obviously. New York could have always changed that approach whenever they wanted. Their offseason plans are being held hostage at the moment. Other stuff is getting in the way of allowing them to set a hard budget number and proceed.

Alex Rodriguez‘s Appeal Hearing
Things got a little juicy yesterday when A-Rod stormed out of his appeal hearing claiming it was a “farce,” but as far as we know that doesn’t change anything about the timetable. The hearing will continue today without a day off either until it is completed or next Wednesday, whichever comes first. I assume they would reconvene the Monday following Thanksgiving, if need be. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. Once the hearing is over, arbitrator Frederic Horowitz is expected to take three or four weeks to hand down his ruling.

Assuming things get wrapped up before Thanksgiving and Horowitz takes his four weeks, we’re looking at a ruling sometime right before Christmas, two weeks after the Winter Meetings. The Yankees have a lot of needs and not much money to spend, at least until A-Rod’s suspension is upheld and all or part of his 2014 salary (and luxury tax hit) is wiped off the books. They can’t count on that happening though. Nothing is final until Horowitz says so. As much as $33.5M is 2014 payroll space hangs in the balance here, enough to sign two premium free agents, but New York won’t know if that money is available to them until after the Winter Meetings, when most major dealings take place.

Masahiro Tanaka‘s Posting
According to Jon Morosi, MLB and NPB have resumed talking about a revising posting system this week after a proposal fell through last week. Apparently MLB felt NPB was taking too long to wrap things up, so the league decided to go after a sweeter deal. Can’t say I blame them, but that doesn’t exactly help the Yankees. It’s no secret they will go hard after Tanaka and why not? He’s supposed to be awesome and because the posting fee doesn’t count against the luxury tax, he’d fit well in their budget.

(Junko Kimura/Getty)

(Junko Kimura/Getty)

Brian Cashman has said he needs to add two starting pitchers this winter and Tanaka is presumably Plan A. If they can’t land him, the Yankees could to turn to Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Garza, or Ubaldo Jimenez. Capable pitchers who aren’t as luxury tax friendly. Needless to say, the longer the haggling between MLB and NPB drags on, the more it hurts the Yankees. Kuroda and Garza and whoever else won’t wait around forever and New York needs to take care of its pitching. There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that Tanaka won’t be posted at all this winter. Cashman & Co. want to know if that will be the case soon, not in late-December or January after the other top arms sign.

Robinson Cano‘s Contract
Unlike the A-Rod and Tanaka stuff, the Yankees actually have some control over Cano’s contract situation because they’re the high-bidder until another club steps to the plate. That fact that his representatives crawled to the Mets earlier this week is a pretty good indication his market isn’t all that robust at the moment. That could change in a heartbeat, however. I do think it’s only a matter of time before another big market team (Nationals?) gets involved.

“We’re not waiting around,” said team president Randy Levine to Andy McCullough earlier this week when asked about a timetable for a new contract with Cano. “We have about five or six free agents that we’re aggressively looking at. Some of our own, some outside guys. We’re not waiting for Robbie or anyone. As these guys come off the board, if we’re lucky enough to get some of them, that obviously limits the money we have for Cano.”

Saying you’re not going to wait around is one thing, but actually doing it is another. The Yankees aren’t stupid, they know their most likely (only?) chance at contention next season involves having Cano at second base and in the middle of the lineup. They also know attendance and ratings took a big hit in 2013 and losing a star caliber player like Robbie could lead to an even greater decline. On the other hand, you could argue this past season showed he isn’t the kind of player who drives fan interest and attendance and ratings and all that. He was the only big name, everyday player on the team, after all.

Cashman & Co. have a lot on their plate this winter. They’ve gotta rebuild half a rotation, half a bullpen, and a decent chunk of the lineup to get back to contention in 2014. They have to do all that while staying under the $189M luxury tax threshold, meaning bang for the buck is important. It was always important, don’t get me wrong, but in the past they could bid the extra million bucks and not think too much of it. The A-Rod and Tanaka situations are really tying their hands because so much money is at stake. Unless they’re willing to risk going over the luxury tax threshold, there’s nothing the team can do but sit and wait until that stuff is resolved, hoping the offseason doesn’t pass them by.

Categories : Hot Stove League

100 Comments»

  1. Blake says:

    All this is true but it’s only handcuffing them because they are allowing it to. Hal could say forget 189 anytime because the team isn’t ready…..we shall see what they do.

    If they wait around all winter then they’ll be left holding a bag of Eric Chavezes in January

    • brian says:

      THANK YOU… so true…

      This idea that players are ever holding the team hostage is a joke, it’s a 3.3 billion dollar corporation, money is only an issue if they want it to be an issue

      • Lets go Yankees says:

        Look at this mediocre FA class. Do we really need to overspend this year?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          Look at next year’s free agent class. It doesn’t get much better.
          Next year’s class is potentially better for left side of the IF and SP (depending on extensions).
          This year’s class is probably better for 2B, OF, C, and relief P.
          The Yankees have a ton of holes to fill. IF their goal is to win in 2014, they will need to spend big in free agency.

    • jjyank says:

      “they’ll be left holding a bag of Eric Chavezes in January”

      Somewhere, Erica jumps for joy at the thought.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Hal could say forget 189 anytime because the team isn’t ready

      —————-

      He should have said that from the beginning.

  2. TWTR says:

    If they want to fulfill Hal’s mandate, they have to spend, and spend big. A world class businessman should know that!

  3. Laz says:

    “I assume they would reconvene the Monday following Thanksgiving, if need be. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. ”

    Cmon man, your not having fun?

  4. Robinson Tilapia says:

    “There’s nothing the team can do but sit and wait until that stuff is resolved, hoping the offseason doesn’t pass them by.”

    That’s simply not true. If anything, you’re handcuffing your own view of the team’s options. Now history may prove you to be exactly right, and me to be wrong, but we can’t speak in absolutes right now.

    The team can approach every situation as it comes. The supposed 189 goal/mandate/boogeyman would be self-inflicted. The team has enough money to make decisions based on information made available to them at the time, then make adjustments as they go along. They aren’t going to run out of money.

    How quickly we forget that only several years ago, after making two big profile signings, the team was able to pull a big contract to Mark Teixeira out of its ass.

    Again, at the end of the day, your tea leaves may be better than my tea leaves (which I sincerly doubt, as I buy the organic, loose leaf kind), but they’re still tea leaves.

    I agree that the Levine stuff on Cano is much a negotiation ploy as the $300 million talk. I hope someone out there buys it. I don’t.

  5. Bobby d says:

    If they want to contend in 2014 they have no choice but to sign the premium free agents without being concerned with the 189m mandate. Then if arod is suspended this will be the year they go under it. If they tentatively wait for the arod situation to work itself out they will not be a contender in 2014 period., no chance!

  6. klaus says:

    Thanks for the annoying popup asking for a facebook plug. Why does every site have to have this crap?

    • I'm One says:

      Because you don’t configure your browser to stop them? Learn about security settings. It’s in your best interest. I’ve never seen the pop-up your speaking about.

  7. Chris says:

    Imagine with all the money coming off of the books, and assuming A-rods suspension is upheld, if they were spending normally this winter. Assuming they shot for around a $205-$210 million opening day payroll. An extra 20 million on top of what the already have and they could easily be right back on top next season, but alas…. It is not to be.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The 2013 Blue Jays would like a word with you.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        The 2013 Blue Jays had a $120M payroll.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Touche.

          He still should be wary about declaring a team back on top during the off-season.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            I agree.
            The Yankees spent $230M+ this season,
            But adding another $20M+ in payroll certainly shoulg get them closer, allow them to fill more of their many holes with quality options, and give them a larger margin of error for making the playoffs.
            Even at $210M, the Yankees would still have some question marks and concerns.

            • BamBamMusings says:

              Aside from Cano and maybe 2-3 other FA, there’s really nothing worth throwing money and multiple years at. Too many teams have $ to spend this year creating too much interest in borderline replacement level players. This would be a good time to throw as much Minor Leaguers out there and see if any of them stick within the first month or two. Then maybe a mid-season trade or two can get us right in there..

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Absolutely. Yesterday, we were talking about, for example, Daniel Murphy as an option for the team, with many taking the POV that the Yanks would only take on Murphy as a starter because of limitations. Going that extra mile, and getting the starting-caliber 3B that puts Murphy more on the hypotheticl bench, would make for a much deeper, but more expensive, team.

              I think they should spend intelligently AND like semi-enibriated sailors.

        • MannyGeee says:

          The 2011 Red Sox would like you to eat a fat bag of Eric Chavezes

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            They had a $163M payroll.
            Add $50M to that and what would they have done?

            Not saying spending guarantees anything.
            I’m saying the Yankees have a ton of holes to fill, limited prospects with which to make major trades, and limited MLB ready impact prospects.
            If they’re going to have any realistically strong chance at the playoffs in 2014, they are going to need to acquire major talent through free agency. Doing that may very well still not be enough.

  8. kenthadley says:

    So let’s say Arod gets 162, which means 33mil comes off the books. Then he takes it to Federal court and gets an injunction in March. My question is what happens to the budget then? It seems like it could be well into the spring before it is known for sure that he is or isn’t going to be paid. Does anyone have some answers for this?

    • Darren says:

      Yes. He’d be back on the payroll and if the Yankees already spent that $30mm, they’d be over $189mm cap.

      I think they should treat the offseason assuming he’s gonna PLAY 162 games. By the trading deadline at the latest, if that turns out not to be the case, they’ll have $30mm in salary that they can take on to try and improve the team for the second half.

      Theoretically they could treat this offseason like he’s gonna be suspended for all 162, sign whoever they want, and they if he does play, trade away $30mm in salary for nothing (SIngle A nobodies), but that might cause problems with MLB (ha!!) or at the very least the fanbase, UNLESS the Yankees suck anyway, in which case all of the people here advocating for rebuilding get what they wanted.

      • MannyGeee says:

        They should treat the season like they have a 39 year old 3rd baseman on two rickety hips. Find a guy you are VERY COMFORTABLE playing 100+ games.

    • Dan says:

      That’s a really good question, and I was wondering about that myself. Keep in mind though, despite A-Rod’s hissy fit, a federal court will be extremely reluctant to overturn the ruling of a neutral arbitrater, especially in a labor dispute. (It would open up a whole can of worms). The only chance A-Rod’s team has of actually doing it is by proving that Horowitz is biased. The Selig ruling alone won’t be enough to make that happen.

      • Preston says:

        Even less likely than deciding in favor of A-Rod on the merits would be them issuing a preliminary injunction allowing him to play during the proceedings. You have to prove a likelihood of success on the merits. Even if A-Rod can prove bias, it’s very unlikely a court will say that it is facially likely on the original filing that a neutral arbiter was biased.

  9. HectorLopez says:

    What quality free agent are they supposed to sign, if they resign Cano, who is next? Garza is a decent pitcher, jiminez is Phil Hughes, Ellsbury? You can’t just spend money for the sake of spending money. Yankee fans may have to realize that this rebuilding process may take more than one off season. I would seriously look at letting Cano walk if the annual value of his contract is north of 22 million.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I believe they’ve already offered Cano more than a $22M AAV.
      Regardless, the length of the contract should be much more of a concern than an extra couple $M in AAV.
      Jiminez is much better than Hughes (though still with concerns – I’d pass on him).
      As for other quality free agents who could fit – just to name a few – McCann, Beltran, Drew, Peralta, Choo, Balfour…
      It’s not spending for the sake of spending. It’s spending to fill glaring holes with better players.

  10. Darren says:

    I hated $189mm but I’ve come to accept it and understand it. Just assume it’s gonna happen -wouldn’t YOU wanna save $50mm, ESPECIALLY when your competitors were gonna get it from YOUR Pocket? Anyway, the Hot Stove League is more interesting if you have to work with Sally Rae Cap. I’m surprised so many commenters keep railing against Prince Hal, demanding he produce an unlimited budget. Let it go.

    The real question is – do you wait for Tanaka or go for a run at Garza?

    Do you make a side deal with Grandy whereby he agrees to wait for ARod saga to play out, and if the Yanks payroll is freed up, he gets a premium for waiting, and if not, he goes and signs a 1 year deal elsewhere?

    If you have to choose between Peralta and McCann what do you do. I know what I do. I sign an infielder and pray for JR Cervelli.

    They can sign everyone they want, they just have to keep $27mm reserved for Cano. And let Shawn Carter know, hey, we have $27mm ready, that’s our cap. Once that dissapears, the offer goes away.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      If I’m in the sports ownership business, I understand that you need to overspend up front sometimes in order to make it back, and then some, later. If I’m in the sports ownership business, I’m also brushing my teeth with $1,000 bills. It’s a big spender’s sport.

      I make a run at Garza. To me, the biggest wildcard here may be Kuroda. In a perfect world, two of those three pitchers are under the Christmas tree.

      No side deals. I choose McCann over Peralta. You can play the negotiation game with Robbie all you want, but you know you’re going to strike a deal with him in the end.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      ESPECIALLY when your competitors were gonna get it from YOUR Pocket?

      ————–

      Luxury tax doesn’t go to other teams.

  11. LarryM Fl says:

    The Yankees know the AVV of Cano’s contract that they will spend. Budget this amount and move forward. If Cano wants more or has a better offer move on. Arod’s money can not be counted until Horowitz provides his decision. If this arbitration is binding then it should be said and done.

    The Yankees should move forward on best FA available who will better the team. The Yanks are a mess and in a bind for 2014. They have so many holes to fill. If one or more are unable to be addressed the team will more than likely contend but not win. As a long time fan I can withstand this type of season as long as the team is moving forward on youth and prospects are healthy and moving up the ladder. Its just not about the parent team all the time.

    Kudos to the Tigers not to be afraid of moving big contracts but Kinsler’s contract got 30 million dollars heavier from the money which needs to be sent to the Rangers.

  12. Dan says:

    They should lock up 1 SP now and then wait on Tanaka. Kiroda and Garza will have similar AAV, and no loss of pick if they sign, so my preference would be one of them during the winter meetings or before.

  13. dasani says:

    Why do I get the feeling that the Yankees are going to bystanders once again as the top free agent talent goes elsewhere ?

  14. Dr. Grenaldine says:

    Who cares! We got Dean Anna from the Padres!

    AND Brendan Ryan!

    Who else smells a World Series Championship?

  15. Billy Cash says:

    I would just put Phelps, Warren, Pineda in the rotation with Sabathia and Nova. No point of overspending and sabotaging our payroll with money and years for players who will suck at the end of their contracts. On the hitting side I would sign Choo and McCann. Play Nunez at third and Nix at second. Yes this team won’t many games, but at least we can use the money we save in player development and other areas.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      What do you think Choo and McCann will be at the end of their contracts?
      If you’re going to field a team that you don’t expect to win many games, why on earth would you give up draft picks and future payroll flexibility to sign Choo and McCann?
      And spending more on player development isn’t necessarily going to make players better. They need talent.

    • MannyGeee says:

      This just in… all players suck at the end of their contracts. Non-MO Division, of course.

    • Preston says:

      How can you use the savings on player development and other areas. The draft and IFA are capped, MiLB salaries are pre-set, we already have about the maximum number of affiliates possible. As far as I know our scouting department is large and well compensated. We have baseball academies around the world. And spending on those things is in no way limited by spending on the MLB roster.

    • Jimmy says:

      And thus was born the new $89M austerity budget.

  16. gargoyle22 says:

    They need a third baseman anyway since Alex is no longer a third baseman. I don’t really understand why the ARod drama should prevent them from pursuing a longterm option at 3rd?

    Does anyone really believe that Alex is not going to be suspended at least 100 games?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I believe he’ll get 162. I think he deserves 50. I wouldn’t cry if the evidence is bad enough that Selig decides to ban him.

      And, yes, they need an actual starting third baseman no matter.

    • Darren says:

      I don’t think he gets 100 games. I think he gets 50 games.

  17. FLYER7 says:

    Arod can take them to court if he loses arbitration but arbitration awards are rarely if ever overturned. May get a day in court but it wont hold things up…

  18. Mike HC says:

    Is it possible that it could actually help the Yanks that the Cano and Tanaka signings might not happen until later in the off season. The longer the Yanks can wait on making a decision on those guys, the better chance the ARod situation might, I repeat, might, be cleared up. Thus giving the Yanks a much better idea of how much they can/want to actually bid on them.

    Your scenario might be more likely though where the Yanks lose out on Garza, Kuroda, McCann etc … because they are waiting on Cano, Tanaka and ARod. Time will tell I guess.

    • nsalem says:

      Very true. It also might serve FA’s that the Yankees are interested in to wait for the ARod situation to clear up. Why wouldn’t they wait for the Yankees to get involved in the bidding? It’s in their best interests. The market isn’t going away for a Beltran, Kuroda, McCann or Choo.

      • Mike HC says:

        Good point. The agents have to read the tea leaves on this ARod thing too. Should they wait expecting a bunch of money to be cleared by the Yanks for free agents. Or should they jump early on an offer because they think the ARod situation might not get cleared up until well into next year.

  19. Captain Turbo says:

    Free A-Rod!

  20. a little help says:

    I was wondering if someone cold help me with an answer.
    The Yankees know their off season needs but to me it seems they are going to wait for the winter meetings. Does anyone else feel that they should be jumping on the players they want and going forward? To me I feel that the Yankees always do this and they do it slow sometimes to slow.

    • Mike HC says:

      They made the mistake of waiting too long last off season and it seems they are adamant about not making that mistake again. When the free agents the Yanks have targeted get real about making their decision, I’m thinking/hoping the Yanks will be making real bids and not letting them pass by in the name of patience.

      • a little help says:

        I hope so Mike HC. They sat around last year and watched everyone go. This is what I’m thinking is going to happen again. I think they need to get off their butts and move now not in December not in Jan now before once again it’s to late.

    • a little help says:

      I’d like to add this team is going to sit back once again and watch all these other free agents go and go quickly as the Yankees just sit there.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Could happen, and it’d be extremely maddening to watch. The only possible way that blow could be softened is if the market gets ridiculously out of hand and entering it suddenly becomes even more of a handcuff. I doubt that’s how it plays out, though. Couldn’t think of a worse move in reassuring even the casual fan.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Maybe.
      But generally to get big free agents to sign this early, they’d have to blow away the market. Not sure that’s wise either.

  21. I'm a looser baby so why don't you kill me? says:

    My Fear Of The Day (FOTD™): the Rangers trade Profar for pitching and go big after Cano.

  22. HectorLopez says:

    The thought that Drew is even under consideration is insane, the guy is not worth the 14.1 qualifying offer he turned down. People advocate signing Drew, McCann and Beltran will be the first to scream when 2-3 years into their contracts they are broken down players. Tex will be a DH soon, A-Rod will DH if/when he returns, McCann will have to DH, Peralta is a DH with a glove in his hand. Hey that’s a great idea maybe the Yankees can become the first baseball team that has an offense and a defense like the NFL. Lets get real here, sign a couple of decent pitchers to short term contracts, get through one year at 189 and then going over the cap costs a lot less. Even if you add Coo, McCann and Peralta this team will not win a W.S., maybe they make the playoffs but they do not have nor can they acquire a deep enough staff.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Free agency is always going to be an inefficient market.
      Delaying one year isn’t going to change that.
      Signing big name free agents is always going to entail downside risk at the end of contracts. Should they avoid ever signing long term free agent deals? How long do you think it will take the Yankees to rebuild doing that?
      Don’t know why you think Tex would be a DH soon. He’s still a well above average 1B defensively with 3 years left on his deal.
      Drew is under consideration because the Yankees really don’t have a better option at SS.
      Peralta is a passable fielder.
      Did you think the Red Sox were going to win the WS this year?
      Get to the playoffs, and you have a shot.
      Add Tanaka, Kuroda, Cano, McCann, a starting RF, a couple of good relievers, and left side of the IF help and they have a team that can make the playoffs and possibly make a WS run when they get there.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        “Signing big name free agents is always going to entail downside risk at the end of contracts. Should they avoid ever signing long term free agent deals? How long do you think it will take the Yankees to rebuild doing that?”

        Repeated for emphasis.

  23. Johnny O says:

    Let’s say the following happens: The arbitrator upholds A-Rod’s suspension. A-Rod and his legal team go to federal court seeking an injunction blocking MLB from enforcing the arbitration decision pending resolution of litigation in that federal court (A-Rod v. MLB. The court grants the injunction, permitting A-Rod to play until the case is resolved. Does his salary count against the $189MM for luxury tax threshold purposes? What if the injunction is granted during spring training, after all the free agents are signed and the Yankees rosters is set? Does MLB give the Yankees relief?

  24. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    I’m really hoping, Cano aside, that NY relents on the $189 cap for ’14 but instead finds a way to meet it in ’15.

    Right now ’15 has about $85 million committed plus arb players. No Jeter, right now no Cano. Just the new core four, Arod, Tex, CC, Wells.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Wells is (mercifully) a free agent after 2014.

    • MannyGeee says:

      “Just the new core four, Arod, Tex, CC, Wells.”

      Not sure if joking or trolling HARD.

    • Nets King says:

      They don’t need to meet the 189 million dollar threshold in 15. The collective bargaining agreement insured that the threshold was only going to have to be met in 2014 to allow flexibility in the later years. This is not a year to year thing. Only 2014.

  25. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    …also, am I the only one that keeps forgetting Tex is even on the team?

  26. Ziggy Barone says:

    The Yankee Front Office has to manage Cano instead of being managed. Why do all of these powerful people become wimps when it comes to FA signings? Offer Cano 3-4 yrs at 22m and give him 48hrs to answer. If he says no sign Infante. Sign Mark Reynolds to replace A-Rod…at least PT and Tex (who knows what he will bring? And he is a very slow starter). Try to Sign Garza. If A-Rod comes back…he will hopefully he bring something.

    If we get Tanaka all the better. We need more than 1 starter anyway. Try to sign McCann…I don’t think Salty is much of an upgrade right now. What we don’t need is a DH…we already have several: Jeter; Wells; Ichiro; A-Rod(?)

  27. Hector Lopez says:

    Boston had PITCHING say what you want but Lester, Bucholz ( I know he was injured for part of the year) Lackey and the rest of their cobbled together staff pitched well. The wound up with a closer that had a Mo like season, and they caught lightning in a bottle with Gomes, Napoli, and if you want to include Drew. The Yankees do not have that pitching depth and you are advocating high end free agents that are going to require long term deals. Can the process slow down to clear some of the heavy contracts expire before we take more onerous ones on. I know the modern day yankee fan thinks they are owed the playoffs every year but I was a fan through the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. I am willing to spend less this off season in order to spend in the future on younger good players.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Tough thing to preach to some fans.

      I’d prefer a balance between the two. I’m not afraid of long-term deals. It’s about who you give them to and how much flexibility you have moving forward. I do think there needs to be some action this off-season. I’m also not opposed to creating some lanes in order for some young guys to step in. For example, I could do without a McCann, and allow the opportunity for a Romine or Murphy to step up (with adequate veteran backup – not adverse to that being Frankie), if the team really strengthened up in other areas. Just one example there.

  28. Dick M says:

    Not that anybody cares but I’ve been mostly on A-Rods side in this. I think MLB went overboard and they singled him out.

    That beind said I do think A-Rod storming out was just a stunt so that he wouldn’t have to testify and perjure himself.

    Initially, I thought the arb procedure would be fair (silly me) and that A-Rod would get the 50 games he deserves. Lately, I’m starting to think that the fix is in and he’ll get much more. But as tough as it is to overturn an arb in court, I think Tacopina or whatever his name is has enough to show this for what it is , a sham, and we get back to 50 games.

    Regardless of all of the above, the fact remains we need a third baseman either way. If A Rod is freed, he will still break down. We need a reliable caddie for him.

    Bottom line is this — we should not be hand-cuffed. If A-rod comes back we go over 189. If he sent to the cornfield, we go under. Either way the plan should be:

    sori LF
    gardy CF
    grandy RF

    cano, tex jeter, and Arod in the infield. With Ryan as Jeter’s caddie and a younger, reliable guy caddying for Arod.

    The kids can catch.

    We need a DH with some pop and some OBA.

    We then need 2 staters. The Japanese kid and Garza.

    The beauty of this is no long term contracts are given to older guys who are already starting to slip. Which buys time for reinforcements from the minors in what is a new paradigm.

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