I have rallied against the Yankees’ roster building for years. 13 pitchers is simply too many to carry and tonight, they are getting caught with their proverbial pants down. (And it could get really ugly)

Francisco Cervelli started at first tonight and had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. Cervelli shouldn’t have been at first considering he is the backup catcher, but the Yankees have two injured infielders. Brian Roberts has some sort of back injury and Derek Jeter has an injured quad. So, with 13 pitchers on the roster, the Yankees entered the night with only 10 offensive players healthy. That meant the Yankees had to put someone on the infield who didn’t have much experience there and Cervelli “won” that competition.

The part I don’t get is that Jeter hurt his quad n Friday. I don’t know when Roberts hurt his back, but the Yankees could have had someone like John Ryan Murphy ready to be activated at the expense of the 13th pitchers’ spot. Instead, they rolled the dice as they often have and they have lost.


Jon Heyman is reporting that they Red Sox and A.J. Pierzynski have agreed to a deal.  Great, just when I thought the Red Sox were getting rid of a catcher whose name I can’t spell in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, they go and sign an equally hard to spell catcher.  Very selfish of them if you ask me.

Pierzynski is the catcher everyone hates, unless he is your teammate, which means he’ll probably fit in just fine in Boston.  At the tail end of his career, he is a durable back-stop but we probably can’t expect more offensively from him than we would have from Salty.

Believe it or not, Pierzynski is a year older than David Ross, so the Red Sox have an AARP platoon at catcher.  Ryan Lavarnway had best stay ready as it is likely Ross and maybe Pierzynski could break down, despite the latter’s track record of good health.

I like this signing, it provides a veteran platoon situation and doesn’t, I assume, lock the Red Sox up in a 5 year deal with a catcher.  AJ, being the lefty, will get the majority of at bats and that is just fine, as long as he is in the 7-9 spots in the line-up.  Of course, until details of the deal are released, I reserve final judgement.

To The Courts!-UPDATED 4:09PM

Stop the speculation, we have an official announcement. MLB has announced the remaining Biogenisis suspensions and they are exactly what we thought they would be. Twelve players, including Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli, are suspended for 50 games starting immediately.

Strangely, Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for 211 games, starting Thursday. (Huh?) In the MLB Statement they claim that Alex used testosterone and HGH over multiple years and obstructed the investigation.

So, Alex can play tonight and the next couple of nights as his suspension doesn’t start until Thursday. And, he can play after that, assuming he appeals his suspension. And, if the Yankees made the 2014 playoffs, Alex could play in them as his suspension is for the 2014 Championship Season and not the 2014 playoffs.


A few things on this. Let’s get the smaller fish out of the way. Cervelli said he didn’t do anything back in February, but then why did he agree to a suspension? That Montero trade doesn’t look like such a bust now, does it?

As for Alex, now we have total war. If you read the MLB statement, it is not a nice one. They are out to punish him. For his part, Alex has hired the same lawyer who got Ryan Braun off the hook the first time.  There is always the chance that Alex doesn’t appeal, but at this point I think he absolutely will. For one thing, being suspended in 2013 costs him more per game than it will in 2014 and 2015. And, he actually has a clear path into the lineup right now, something he probably wouldn’t have if he took the suspension and tried to return to the club in 2015.

So now we wait for the almost certain appeal and then the process to work itself out. How long will that take? I have seen estimates as low as two weeks to as high as two months. I am sure baseball will try and rush it along, but Alex’s lawyers will certainly have all the time that they need to present their case. And before you assume A-Rod is a goner. Just remember that Clemens got out of perjury charges, Braun escaped the first test, there is nothing cut and dry with this and it wouldn’t shock me to see Alex get a heavily reduced suspension. And for at least the next three games, I expect we will see him playing third base.

Finally, everyone suspended today should take a look at this statement. That’s the way you apologize and admit guilt.

UPDATE 4:09-  You have to love these statements too.

Down The Stretch We Come-UPDATED 4:35

So the Red Sox have landed Jake Peavy and the Padres have landed Ian Kennedy. The biggest rumor right now is that Michael Young has decided a little over an hour before the deadline that he would accept a trade to the Yankees. Stay tuned.

3:15pm I think the Astros are going for a MLB-record in terms of lowest salary. They have traded Justin Maxwell to the Royals. Why trade Maxwell? He is arbitration eligible next year. The Astros most expensive player is Wandy Rodriguez, who plays for PITTSBURGH. If they can trade Bud Norris and his $3-million salary, they would cut their payroll by over 10%-WOW!

3:20pm Just speculating here, but if we see the Yankees take on a big contract in 2014, that’s a pretty solid indication that they think something big is happening to A-Rod suspension-wise

3:22pm Joel Sherman tweets that the Yankees have a .560 OPS from their thirdbasemen this year-worst in MLB.

3:25 Michael Young is hitting .279 with 8 home runs and he would be HUGE upgrade for the Yankees <sigh>

3:31 Heyman and Rosenthal reporting that the Orioles are getting closer on Bud Norris.

3:35 Rosenthal reporting that Norris is headed officially to the Orioles.

3:41 Olney reporting that the Yankees are not getting traction in Young talks.

3:42 Sherman reporting that the Braves talked to the Yankees about Hughes but nothing likely.

3:47 Rosenthal reporting that the Pirates are quiet.

3:52 Here’s a big non-trade item. Matt Moore is headed to the DL with elbow problems. It’s been a good 24 hours for the Red Sox.

3:57 Rosenthal reporting that nothing is going on with Texas or the Yankees.

4:35 And that’s about it, nothing major anywhere and the Yankees didn’t pull off a deadline trade. But, since they are in 4th-place, so they will be able to block the Orioles, Red Sox and Rays from making moves in August.

A Great Trade

There is a nice symmetry to Alfonso Soriano returning to the Yankees at this moment. After all, he was the key piece the Yankees traded to Texas back in 2004 for Alex Rodriguez. And despite all of the crap the Yankees have endured since that trade, it was a wonderful move. Let’s look back at it.

The Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias for A-Rod. Since that trade happened, A-Rod has produced 49 WAR. Soriano has priduced a 29.1 WAR and Arias has produced a 0.5 WAR. Sure, up until this point, the Yankees have paid about $80-million more for A-Rod than Soriano and Arias have earned, but $4 million per WAR is a below the 2012 average of $6.3 million. Plus, like it or not, the 2009 title doesn’t happen without A-Rod.

So, the 2004 trade that sent Soriano away was a good one. How does the 2013 trade to bring him back look? Well let’s start with the obvious- they needed to get a righty bat. Here are two stunning stats. Soriano has out-homered the entire Yankee team since the start of July and he has 10 home runs since the Yankees last had a righty hit a  homer.

According to various sources the Yankees are giving up  Corey Black, and paying a prorated $5-million salary this year and $5-million next year. Black is an interesting prospect. He throws close to 100-mph, but he is wild. He is only in A-ball so he has a way to go, but he could definitely come back to haunt the Yankees in a few years. The money isn’t much, though it is interesting that the Yankees are going to pay $5-million to Soriano next year instead of paying more this year. Overall, I think it is a good risk for a team trying to win. This is not Jay Buhner to the Mariners, it is a gamble that a 22-year old in A-ball won’t develop. That’s usually a smart bet.

The question that remains is how will the Yankees use Soriano? The smart play would be to DH full time and cut Hafner. Hafner hasn’t hit since April and his OPS has gone down each month. In July he has put up a line of .154/.241/.212. The Yankees can play Wells in LF against LHP and Mesa against RHP. When Granderson is healthy, he plays there everyday.

A Different View of A-Rod

Here’s a take from across the Pacific on the A-Rod situation.

This is Getting Crazy

UPDATE I wrote all of this below before I read this tweet  Basically, the doctor Alex went to for a second opinion was reprimanded earlier this year by the NJ Attorney General because of “failing to ensure proper patient treatment involving the proscribing of hormones including steroids…”

It’s an old adage, but it is so true; you can’t buy smarts.

The latest twist in the A-Rod saga is that the Yankees are apparently trying to keep him off the field by claiming he is injured. Never mind the fact that it was ALEX who went to the Yankees Saturday and complained about his quad. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger….

Obviously, I am not buying this one. But i will give you a better conspiracy theory if you want.  I have no proof of this, so read on at your own risk.  The Yankees have asked MLB to take their time with the A-Rod/Biogenisis investigation. Why do I say that? Because every game he is suspended for in 2014 helps them towards their $189 payroll goal.

A-Rod is going to make $26-million in 2014 and could earn an extra $6-million if he hits his 660th home run. Since he is currently only 13 away from that, it seems likely that he might do it in 2014, unless he was suspended for a huge chunk of the season. Based on my understanding of the luxury tax, the $6-million bonus would count against the luxury tax number. And since it is A-Rod’s AAV, not his actual salary that counts, the Yankees could take a luxury tax hit of $33.5 million next year thanks to Alex.

Now if Alex is suspended for a portion of 2014 he loses that salary while suspended and that means it doesn’t count against the luxury tax. He is going to make about $4.3 million per month, so a 100-game suspension handed down at the end of July would save the Yankees around $7-million in luxury tax bills for 2014 (55 games this year plus 45 games next year).  If they can get MLB to hold off until the end of August, they could save around $12-million (27 games this year plus 73 games next year) Plus, he might not hit 13 homers in the remaining 89 games, so he wouldn’t trigger the $6-million bonus.




Ask and you shall receive? The Yankees are reportedly close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs for a “mid-level” prospect. The Cubs will pay a significant portion of the $25 million left on Soriano’s contract.

We will have to wait and see what the final terms of the deal are before judging it, but this clearly shows you how bad things are. CBS ran a story today on the potential trade that contained two numbers that are shocking.

  • Yankee left fielders are hitting .225/.267/.332 this season (OPS+ of 62)
  • Yankee DH’s are hitting .212/.297/.362 this season (OPS+ of 92)

That is atrocious production and that is why the Yankees have to turn to someone like Soriano. He doesn’t play defense well and he certainly doesn’t get on base a lot (.286 OBP). But he still has plenty of power (17 homers) and he hits lefties (.280/.312/.508) something very few Yankees are able to do. Vernon Wells has been solid against lefties, so I imagine Soriano will DH and Wells will play left when the Yankees face LHP. When they face a righty, Wells will become Soriano’s defensive substitution.

This isn’t a trade you ever wanted to see the Yankees make, but it is a reflection of where the team currently stands. The minors don’t have any answers and the fill ins are showing why they are fill ins. Soriano is flawed in many ways, but he is better than what they have.

Say Goodbye To Kevin

Well the Youkilis experiment is probably over. Sure, the surgery could cure him in the estimated 10-12 weeks (end of August to mid September) but it is more likely that it finishes him for the season. When the Yankees signed Youkilis, I wondered why they chose him over Nunez. I didn’t like the fact that they wouldn’t give him a shot at third.

Well Nunez had a chance at short and he didn’t do much with it. I still think the idea of making him only a shortstop was a mistake, but his injuries this year and last have deprived us of a chance to truly evaluate him. I will say this- I don’t think the Yankees win much with the leftside of the infield occupied by Nunez and Adams.

So now we get Nix at short and Adams at third for the immediate future. Maybe you believe A-Rod and Jeter are on their way back, but consider this. A-Rod watched, yes watched, pitches go by in BP today. He wasn’t allowed to swing. Jeter hasn’t even gotten to that point. Neither one of them is coming back anytime soon. Brian Cashman needs to see if there are anymore productive castoffs he can acquire. Otherwise, the Yankees are going to be forced into a tough decision. Do they sacrifice the future for today or do they sacrifice today for tomorrow?

The Crystal Ball

A quick break from vacation to get my picks in before the season starts in a few hours. As always, follow these at your own risk.


1- Tampa

2- Toronto

3- Yankees

4- Red Sox

5- Baltimore

To me Tampa is a great team people seem to forget about. Their pitching is great and I think Myers will provided them with the big stick they need when they call him up at the end of April. I love Toronto’s offseason, but not enough to put them on top. I get the bandwagon that thinks the Yankees finish in last, but I don’t see it. Sure they are old and injured, but they can pitch and that should keep them out of the basement. Plus, lets not forget how truly bad Boston was last year, why should we expect them to climb over New York? I say the Yankees finish third with 85 wins and miss the playoffs. The surprise is probably the Baltimore pick, but I think their luck in one-run games runs out and they certainly won’t surprise anyone this year.


1- Detroit

2- Chicago

3- Kansas City

4- Minnesota

5- Cleveland

Detroit is the class of this division.


1- Angels

2- Oakland

3- Texas

4- Seattle

5- Houston

I think the Angels run away with it, but Oakland and Texas are the wild cards. That is in part do to how epically bad Houston will be. I would guess 110 losses for them.


1- Washington

2- Atlanta

3- Philadelphia

4- Florida

5- Mets

Hard to see anyone catching the Nats this year, but Atlanta will give them a run.


1- Cincinnati

2- Pittsburgh

3- St. Louis

4- Milwaukee

5- Chicago

Now that Houston is gone, this might be the most competitive division in baseball. I think the Reds hold off a surprising Pirates club.


1- Giants

2- Dodgers

3- Arizona

4- Colorado

5- San Diego

The Dodgers may be the fashionable pick, but I will take the winners of two of the last three titles.


Texas over Oakland in the wild card

Detroit over Tampa
Angles over Texas

Angels over Detroit

NL Playoffs

Atlanta over LA in the wild card

Nats over Atlanta
Cincinnati over San Fran
Nats over Cincinnati


Nats over Angels- at least something works in D.C.

Finally a toast to the two greatest words in the English language- PLAY BALL. I can’t wait to hear them tomorrow afternoon.