Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Could A-Rod Have Done For The Yankees This Season?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Barring a highly improbable decision by the federal courts, Alex Rodriguez will not play a single Major League game this season for the Yankees or any other team.  His playing career as we know it looks like it could be over and if he does try to come back in 2015 he may be on the receiving end of a beanball targeting that would make what Ryan Dempster did last August look like a walk in the park.

While the Yankees know that A-Rod will not be their starting third baseman this season, they've still yet to figure out who will be.  We know that they're bringing a small army of replacement level competitors to Spring Training.  The most likely scenario is that 2 of those players split time at the hot corner as part of a replacement platoon, at least until one of them gets hurt or sucks so badly that someone else needs to replace him.  It's a risky strategic decision given how much money the Yankees have spent to upgrade the rest of their lineup this offseason, and one that could backfire if they're unable to get consistent production and value out of the position.

Yanks Officially Announce Tanaka Signing

There you have it.  The Yankees have officially announced the deal so any last doubts that may have lingered about it can be put to rest.  Multiple beat guys have confirmed that lefty David Huff has been DFA'd to clear a roster spot, and since we already know that the Yanks aren't going to conduct a second physical on Tanaka all that's left to speculate on is his jersey number.

Kudos to the Yankees for coming out on top of this and making all the effort they put in on scouting Tanaka worthwhile.  I know there were some doubts out there about whether or not he'd sign with them, but the allure of the playing in pinstripes is clearly still alive and well.  I'll have more thoughts on the deal and what it means for Tanaka and the Yanks moving forward tomorrow.

BREAKING NEWS: Yanks Sign Masahiro Tanaka To A 7-Year Deal (UPDATED)

(Courtesy of the AP)

Reports were that we'd find out by the end of today who Masahiro Tanaka would choose to sign with, and per Ken Rosenthal that team is the Yankees.

According to Rosenthal, the Yankees and Tanaka have agreed to a 7-year/$155 million contract.  The deal includes an opt-out clause after the 4th year.

This was the big move the Yankees wanted and needed to make to upgrade their starting rotation for this season and the future.  They paid a hefty ransom for Tanaka, including the $20 million posting fee they'll now have to send to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but that's what it was going to take once the new posting rules were put into effect.  More on this story as it comes out.

** UPDATE 8:50 AM- Joel Sherman has confirmed Rosenthal's report.  Sounds like this is legit. **

** UPDATE 8:58 AM- Deal has been confirmed by a slew of other Yankee beat guys.  For the sake of conversation, the $155 mil is the 5th highest contract for a pitcher in MLB history in terms of total dollars.  Yanks weren't kidding when they said they were going all in to get him. **

Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Brian Roberts' Playing Time

Joe announced recently that he sees newest Yankee Brian Roberts as the everyday second baseman this season.  Those were bold words when talking about a guy who hasn't played in triple digit games since 2009 and has played in fewer than 200 total in the last 4 seasons.  Roberts' career has been completely derailed by injury problems and players who start getting hurt all the time in their early 30s generally don't stop getting hurt when they turn 36.  Roberts was a guest on "Yankees Hot Stove" last night and he commented on his expectations relative to playing time for the upcoming season:

“I’m excited for the opportunity.  My goal is just to come in and try and play as many games as they want me to be able play, and obviously help us get to where we want as an organization.”

Roberts said he was healthy and felt good and was ready to go, but the phrasing of "try and play as many games as they want me to be able play" leaves me feeling a little skittish.  I'm all for seeing what Roberts is capable of now that he's healthy, even though I don't expect it to be much.  I'm not too keen on the idea of running him out there every day until he breaks down and leaving the team with another roster hole to fill.  It's OK to want Roberts to play every day and hope that he can.  It's not OK to expect him to or anticipate that he will.