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With A-Rod ban settled, where do the Yankees go from here?

Jan 11, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

Brian Cashman Getty Getty Images

The Yankees can finally move forward with their plans for 2014 now that Alex Rodriguez has received a 162-game ban which also includes the postseason. And they have to be pretty happy with how things have worked out.

It’s easy to see the benefits of having Rodriguez off the books for 2014, as he was due to make $25 million. Much has been made about the Yankees trying to get under the $189 million threshold, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that they will still be charged $3,155,737.70 for A-Rod for luxury tax purposes for 2014 since the suspension is for 162 games and not a full year. That could cut things very close depending on what else they do this offseason.

On a related note, the Yankees are believed to be one of the front-runners for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. The savings from A-Rod, at least for 2014, should come in handy, but Tanaka is going to be very expensive. Due to the changes associated with the posting system, it will likely require a contract north of $100 million in order to sign him. That could easily push them over the $189 million figure.

Yes, the Yankees will save money with the suspension and won’t have to deal with the daily sideshow like we saw during the second half last season, but the loss of Rodriguez adds yet another question to the team’s infield going into 2014. Derek Jeter is no sure thing after being limited to just 17 games last season and the Yankees will attempt to piece together second base following the departure of Robinson Cano. As of now, they are counting on Kelly Johnson and the injury-prone Brian Roberts to be major contributors.

There’s still a chance that the Yankees could upgrade their infield via trade, as a Brett Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips swap has been mentioned in the past, but Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reported this morning that the Yankees were still looking at free agents Mark Reynolds and Michael Young as possible fallbacks at third base. Of course, neither are inspiring options, but there’s slim pickings out there.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Hi Craig. You forgot that Slim Pickings perished at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Hah – that’s two in a row that got it wrong. D.J. Short wrote this post. D.J. Short, people!!

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        My mistake. I also made a spelling error.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        My mistake too!

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Craig shook up the natural order of things by working on a Sunday.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        He’s working tomorrow too? ;)

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Yes, I could have let that go.

        Wait, no I couldn’t.

      • indaburg - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        Craig is sneaky like that. He writes under other’s names.

        I’m practically salivating at the thought of hearing PADMY all season long from Yankees’ broadcasters. Michael Young would look so professional in pinstripes, no?

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Nice. The older you get, the longer it takes to get down. My last seasons of playing soccer goalie I took to kicking low shots aside because I was so sick of seemingly floating over low hard shots as they settled into the net.

        I feel for MY – he’s got what scouts call “fall down range” – and that’s only if it’s not hit too hard.

      • indaburg - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        It’s nothing personal with MY. I can’t hate a player whose walk-up song is Paul Revere. However, it is a zero sum game, and if he wears pinstripes, PADMY is music.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    It’s really stretching the point to call Mark Reynolds a 3B fallback. That would be falling through a trap door.

    The only other 3B free agents are Young (as Drew said,) Wilson Betemit, Chris Nelson, Placido Polanco and Justin Turner. Guh.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      They are taking a pass on Reynolds and are about to sign Scott Sizemore instead.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        For the love of Dog – they really might injure 4 IF’s on the same bunt. He makes Brian Roberts look like Cal Ripken.

  3. donniev77 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Regardless, this is a big win for the Yankees. They will not be paying 25 million for the equivalent of a 4-5 million player contribution at 3B.

    • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      If financial constraints were an issue, I would agree, but as things stand now, they have less talent and must find an alternative at 3B. No matter what the infield defense is awful. Only a Ryan/Roberts (not Ryan Roberts), middle infield would be above average, and one that employ Jeter, Nunez, and Johnson would be terrible.

      Even if they upgrade at 3B, the defense will be one of the league’s worst, so whoever they sign to be #4 or #5, I would suggest they stay away from sinker ball specialists.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Johnson doesn’t rate badly on defense, but overall the team is worse today than they were yesterday.

      • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        Well as you know I put little faith in defensive metrics, that said, Johnson still grades out average, and that was built on past years, and he certainly isn’t improving, and asking him to learn another position, one he has only played for 16 games isn’t a recipe for success.

        The Rays parked him in the outfield, when he couldn’t crack the infield line-up, and the Rays haven’t exactly been a powerhouse there except for third.

        But I concur with your overall team evaluation. And adding Reynolds or Young is going to do little to change that.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Yankee fans will probably disagree with me, but I suspect that their best option at third base is Jeter.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      I’ve never thought Jeter would make a good third baseman. In his younger years, he had good speed and a strong arm, but he’s never had a great first step, which is a must at third. I always thought it would have made sense to put him in center when Bernie Williams left and leave A-Rod at shortstop. I think Jeter would have been a great center fielder.

      • jfk69 - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        Sorry but he always has good first step,sure hands and an above average arm. These days Jeter has no range . He plays the pitch and the hitter and when he guesses wrong he can’t cover the ground fast enough. Cal Ripken had the same issues at the end of his career and moved to third base. In fact when Arod came over he would have been the better choice at short based on metrics.

    • indaburg - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      As someone who doesn’t want the Yankees to succeed, I’d love to see Jeter play 3rd. Their best option is to have him DH.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Jeter *might* be a viable play as a DH against LHP, depending on how he comes back. If he’s DHing against RHP, the Yanks are missing the playoffs for consecutive years for the first time in two decades.

      • indaburg - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        I’m okay with that.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        We’re talking about their best option for Derek Jeter, not what you’d be okay with. :-P

  5. cackalackyank - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Slim pickens is putting it mildly. I really do not see the Phillips trade being revised. I think the odds of Young or Reynolds getting a decent payday just increased dramatically. I do not think the L-tax has been much of a thought since they signed Ellsbury to that deal. They still need at least one starter maybe two. A set up man would be a god thing too.

  6. cackalackyank - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Edit feature- *good thing

  7. pisano - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    proudly… he could ( Jeter )barely make throws from SS, ( yes, I know he wasn’t 100%) last year, so I don’t see him at third. They will probably sign Reynolds, he can also spell Tex at first.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Reynolds can make throws from third base. The only problem is that the throws sometimes do not go where he intended.

      • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        I just had a flashback to Steve Garvey c. 1970, winging throws way over his 1B’s head. Or Tony Perez doing likewise for the Reds at Crosley Field.

    • rathipon - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Ok Jeter is not a good defensive shortstop. It’s well established. But come on already. If I knew nothing about baseball and read all the comments about his defense I’d think he’s some sort if cripple. Give him credit where it’s due at least. He has a strong arm and always has.

  8. Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Stephen Drew, come on down!

    • 18thstreet - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Good point. Anyone think a trade for Aramis Ramirez is possible?

      • Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        That’s an interesting thought. Milwaukee’s going nowhere this year, and while their books are clean, they could want to get something out of him that they could use next time they’re ready to contend. With his expiring deal, the Yankees could theoretically say screw $189M this year then try to hit it next year when Jeter, Ichiro, Soriano and Kuroda all come off the books and some of their better prospects might finally be ready to contribute.

      • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Kevin S,

        I haven’t seen anything in a long time (other than from writers surgically attached to Brian Cashman) that says the Yankees HAVE any “better prospects”.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        Then you haven’t been looking. Their top crop had rough years in AA or with injuries, but there’s enough talent amongst Gary Sanchez, JR Murphy, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams and Manny Banuelos that at least a couple of them should get through and contribute.

    • happytwinsfan - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      no. no. no.

      Drew needs to go to a team that:
      only has to give up a high second round pick instead of a first round
      with a near new stadium and who are desperate to regain a measure of respectability before more of their fan base tunes out
      who can afford to add another 10 – 12 million to the payroll
      who haven’t had a solid every day shortstop in years
      who don’t have any top notch shortstops in the pipeline who would be blocked

      shortly after or before the start of spring training a humbled Drew accepts 3 years – 33 million from the Twins. remember, kyle lohse wound up with our cousins in Milwaukee.

      if i’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        Yankees only have to give up a low second-round pick because of their previous signings, so on that front at least Drew costs less for them than the Twins.

  9. ctony1216 - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    If I were the Yankees, I might explore the possibility of trading A-Rod to the Marlins. Really. The Yankees would have to eat a huge chunk of A-Rod’s salary. And A-Rod would have to approve the deal (I think he would — he’s from the Miami area). But it might be best for all parties in the long run.

    The reason this might work: A-Rod doesn’t want to be in New York, and the Yankees don’t want him there. A-Rod might welcome the change of scenery, especially to Miami. And the Marlins would get a player who would draw fans. The Marlins desperately need fans.

    If the Yankees could get Miami to pay, say, $5-$8 million a year in A-Rod’s salary, that might be enough for the Yankees to find a player of A-Rod’s current production value to the team — without the daily circus.

    Is A-Rod worth $5-$8 million a year to the Marlins? Given the lack of interest in baseball in Miami, I’d say yeah maybe. A-Rod drew fans in New York, and given his connections to the Miami community, I’d bet he could boost attendance there too.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      Ok, I like the outside-of-the-box thinking. But if the Yankees are going to eat a lot of the contract, what’s coming back to them? Keep in mind the Marlins (or any acquiring team, really) aren’t going to get anything out of him for 2014, and don’t know if they’ll ever get anything out of him. (A-Rod could decide to retire, could come back as a shell of himself, or could hurt himself.)

      But if I’m the Yankees, and given the potential upside, I need at least three can’t-miss prospects. And one of them has got to be a middle infielder, and one of them has got to be a pitcher.

      • ctony1216 - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        Think of it this way:

        With A-Rod, in 2015, the Yanks would have a 3B with a .770 OPS at $25 million/year. So if they could get a .770 OPS 3B at $5 million a year, they’d be even if the Marlins would pay the $5 million of A-Rod’s contract. That’s the concept.

        The two teams can negotiate the actual dollars, based on how good the teams expects A-Rod to be in 2015-17, or whether the Marlins have prospects that they want to throw into the deal.

        The Yankees might feel A-Rod still has a lot of value, and wouldn’t want to eat more than $10 million in salary. Still, I think they’d be better off trying to trade him, given the bad blood, lawsuits, etc.

    • doctornature - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:08 AM

      You think baseball fans in ANY city would want A-Fraud? I don’t think you are giving Miami fans any justice.

      I actually think attendance goes down in ANY city if their team trades for the A-Roid. And they get NOTHIN by way of prospects if they trade for him, even if they pay 20 MM of his salary. He is a leper no one wants to touch with a 10 foot pole, like Bonds. Who wants a circus in the locker room?

    • mustang6984 - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:57 AM

      Let me fix that mind-set now. NO TEAM will trade for this clown. The Yankees can afford to eat the two years left on his contract. (after the suspension that’s what’s left) If they pay it now, he’s done, can’t come to spring training, and no one else can sign him until he has served his suspension. No one is going to do that anyhow. No one wants the pariah around. He is a NON-STARTER for any clubhouse!

  10. pastabelly - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Jeter’s farewell victory lap is more important than anything. It’s in scriptures.

  11. keltictim - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Couple of questions/points. Arod is adamant that he will continue to fight this, do the Yankees spend like it’s over or do they hold back since there’s a chance it’s not over? Say he is honest for once and does fight it, what’s the time table for a resolution on something like that? Is there any precedence for taking something like this to federal court? I’m assuming so since at its heart it’s a contract dispute, but not so much his contract as the unions with the league. And finally I thought I had no life, but you guys actually have spent enough time on this site to know what these writers work schedule is? I’m sorry but that strikes me as kinda sad. But hey if you like it I love it. Just remember there’s a whole world out there away from watching sports and getting to know the work schedule of bloggers.

    • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      “Over”? Waddya mean, “it’s over”? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    • mustang6984 - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:53 AM

      There is no precedence to go to Federal Court. Plus..should he be stupid enough to do that, the Commissioner’s office could just ban him for life. Then he IS done…and the Yankees can truly move on. I’d prefer that myself.
      He can’t dispute his contract…ALL contracts say that if you screw the pooch (mess with PED’s) and get caught, you understand there WILL be penalties. The union isn’t exactly backing their truck up to his door if you notice.
      BUT…should the Yankees wish to be done with him, they could pay him off, (since he now is only owed two years instead of three) and be done with him. Then, he can’t go to Spring Training, (because he wouldn’t be part of the team, and no other team can sign him while he is under suspension) and when he has served that suspension, no other team will WANT to sign him due to the excessively horrid baggage he brings along with him.

      And yea, knowing work schedules of these so-called reporters is a bit too vested!

  12. braxtonrob - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    If the Yankees were smart they’d snap up Michael Young to play 2B.
    I don’t care how old he is, he’s a superb middle infielder, especially 2B; he can’t play the corners worth a damn. Trust me, I’m from Texas.

    • mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      It should be pointed out that he’s 37 and hasn’t played the middle infield in some time.

      • braxtonrob - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:38 AM

        Brian Roberts is 36 and hasn’t played more than 77 games in the last FOUR years.
        He’s one of my all-time favorite players, but he’s pretty much done.

        Michael Young hasn’t played 2B in awhile, you’re right.
        But, he played and won a GG at SS, and deserved to win a helluva lot more.
        Young still has speed, so you tell me if a bona-fide SS can make the switch to 2B with those specs.

        If I was a GM and I had a dire need at 2B, he’d already be signed.
        (This league can be stupid sometimes.)

  13. mustang6984 - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:47 AM

    “With A-Rod ban settled, where do the Yankees go from here?”

    To a much Much MUCH happier place!

  14. keltictim - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Thanks for the back up mustang! I don’t think if go so far as to throw a dig in at the “reporters” while they don’t really break stories in the format PFT does, they def have a wide network of people, I come here for stories about non Red Sox teams. They are good at what they do.

  15. zackd2 - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    “that they will still be charged $3,155,737.70 for A-Rod for luxury tax purposes for 2014 since the suspension is for 162 games and not a full year. ”

    How is 162 + playoffs “not a full year”?

    • zackd2 - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Wow, picking 162 + playoffs instead of the “full” 2014 season, very shady. Hope you put the extra 3m to good use.

  16. psly2124 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    To bad josh bell signed with a Korean team. He fits the Yankees, can’t field, strikes out about every other at bat and can’t hit .200.

  17. warrenlevine - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    The Yankees twisted their necks to the breaking point to turn their heads away from an obviously pumped-up A-Roid. They’ll just have to live without him.

    MARIJUANA IS SAFER THAN STEROIDS

  18. yordo - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Jeter could use an extension. Why don’t they show some respect?

  19. keltictim - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Warren just curious as to why you assume marihuana is safer than roids? I think all the people that the cartels have killed in Mexico and along the border might disagree with you.

  20. theskinsman - Jan 12, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I can’t see any team trading a bucket of used spit for what’s left of a-roid after his year off.

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