Thursday, November 14, 2013

NPB Posting Changes Delayed, Tanaka's Status In Jeopardy

Didn't see this one coming.  After reports earlier today that the final changes to the new NPB player posting system had been agreed to by both sides and could be put into place as early as next Monday, Major League Baseball decided to put the brakes on things this afternoon and now plan to change their side of the proposal.  MLB Chief Operating Officer, and A-Rod's best friend, Rob Manfred had this to say:

“We warned them, told them, if this sat too long, there could be shifting winds out there. And suffice it to say, there have been shifting winds."

What those winds are nobody knows, but David Waldstein just tweeted that it could have something to do with smaller market MLB teams wanting posting fees to count against the luxury tax.  This would obviously be a huge blow to the Yankees, who were hoping to go hard after Masahiro Tanaka whenever he was posted while staying below the luxury tax threshold.  With things back up in the air and no clear direction on what comes next, the new posting agreement might not get put into place this offseason and Tanaka might not be made available for 2014.

Report: Yanks "Close" To Re-Signing Brendan Ryan

(Used courtesy of the fine folks at Pinstripe Alley)

I mentioned this earlier in the Freese post, but the other "big" infield story that popped up yesterday involved Brendan Ryan and the high level of interest both he and the Yankees are reported to have in each other.  Ryan became the everyday shortstop after he was acquired late in the season, and hit .220/.258/.305 (.252 wOBA) in 62 plate appearances while reminding everybody what a good defensive shortstop looks like.  That performance appears to have been enough to convince the Yankee brass he's worth another go because Joel Sherman reported last night that the 2 sides are "close" to a new deal.  It's not even in the same area code as a Tanaka or McCann signing would be, but bringing Ryan back would be a smart strategic decision on multiple fronts.

Well That Freese Trade Rumor Fell Apart Pretty Quickly, Huh?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It had been all Tanaka and McCann and Beltran and Choo talk early on in Yankeeland until Mark Feinsand came out with a report yesterday afternoon on the Yankees and Cardinals working on a trade for Cards third baseman David Freese.  Right around the same time, reports started trickling out that the team was working on re-signing Brendan Ryan and suddenly it looked like it was going to be a multi-pronged attack to address the aging aged and now incredibly unreliable left side of the infield.

Freese, while not the all-world player his 2011 postseason made him out to be, would have made sense for the Yankees as third base insurance for A-Rod.  He's a right-handed hitter with a .286/.356/.427 career slash line (.345 wOBA) and while he won't garner any Fielding Bible Award votes at the hot corner, he's not a complete disaster defensively.  At 31 and coming off a down and injury-filled year in 2013, Freese was a textbook "buy low" trade target and even with 2 years of team control remaining he probably could have been had for a modest prospect return.