Monday, December 23, 2013

Report: A-Rod Decision Could Be Coming Soon

It's been one of many slow-playing offseason storylines for the Yankees, but a resolution to the Alex Rodriguez steroid suspension saga could finally be coming.  According to a report earlier today by Bob Klapisch, Major League Baseball is expecting the arbitrator to hand down his decision "very early in January, possibly right after New Year's."

This is in line with some other reports/theories that have been floating around the Yankosphere lately.  The timeline for a decision was always set in early-to-mid January after the hearing wrapped up last month, and with HOF announcement set for January 8th, the prevailing thought is that MLB would want to get the A-Rod announcement out of the way early or late enough to not distract from that.

As far as the Yankees are concerned, a post-New Year's decision would be ideal.  They've put the brakes on their offseason activity since their payroll started creeping close to the luxury tax ceiling, and probably aren't going to make any more moves to address third base or their pitching staff until they know how much of A-Rod's money is going to be coming off the books.  If this schedule holds, it will put an end to a long, bizarre, frustrating, and often entertaining part of the 2013 offseason.

Projecting David Phelps As A Starter In 2014

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

I continue to stand by my belief that the Yankees will not actually follow through with their plan to fill out next year's rotation from within if, for whatever reason, they don't end up signing Masahiro Tanaka.  If they do decide to take that path, however, I don't think there will be much of a competition in Spring Training to determine the final 2 spots.  Michael Pineda was brought in to be a top-of-the-rotation stud along side CC Sabathia.  Regardless of whether he's still capable of being that type of pitcher or not, the Yankees owe it to themselves to have him in next year's rotation to at least attempt to start getting some value out of that trade.

If he's the #4 starter, the last spot will more than likely go to David Phelps.  He's got more experience than any of the other young starters on the 40-man roster, he's had more success at the Major League level, and those 2 things have traditionally held the most weight when the final decision is made in the annual Yankee spring rotation competition.  Phelps has made 23 starts in his first 2 Major League seasons, pitching to a 4.39/4.15/4.17 slash line in 123.0 IP.  Nothing flashy, and his numbers have been much better as a reliever, but that type of production from the 5th spot in the rotation would be a welcome addition to a team that still needs all the pitching help it can get.

Monday Morning Food For Thought: The Old Get Older

Interesting article by Joel Sherman over the weekend, one that leads off with this doozy of a line:

"The Yankees have accomplished the near impossible — they had the oldest player in the majors (Mariano Rivera) and the oldest starter (Andy Pettitte) retire and yet somehow have gotten older this offseason."

To be honest, I hadn't even really paid much attention to the age factor of this offseason's moves.  I was just happy that the Yankees were spending money on players who could still actually play and would actually make the team better in 2014.  But Sherman's point is valid and there is something to be said for the fact that the Yankees will enter next season without a single player under the age of 30 in their starting lineup.  They're no strangers to age-related regression and age-related health problems wreaking havoc on their roster, and by getting older this offseason they've done more to increase the risk of that happening again than lessen it.  Beltran, McCann, and Ellsbury all come with some form of legitimate injury concern, and they're being added to a mix of CC, Jeter, Teix, Gardner, and A-Rod (maybe) that already comes with plenty of concerns of their own.

Will next year's team be better than the one that opened 2013?  Absolutely.  Will it be any safer from the risks associated with being an older club?  Maybe, maybe not.